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REVIEW: Dunkirk

Swagnarok
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7/31/2017 9:21:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This critically acclaimed 2017 film by Christopher Nolan recounts the evacuation of British forces from continental Europe during WWII at Dunkirk, France in 1940. I had the great pleasure of watching it on the big screen earlier today.
The film starts out with a scrappy but resourceful kid who's a soldier in the British army at the time of the events of the film. After a brief firefight and chase scene through the surprisingly well-developed and modern-looking streets of Dunkirk, in which all the other members of his squadron are brutally gunned down by the Nazis, he makes his way to the beaches, where scores of British (and French) soldiers await reinforcements by sea to carry them across the English Channel and to safety in the mother country. Of course, things don't exactly go according to plan, especially when German fighter-bombers seem to be sinking ships almost as fast as they can arrive.
The film is divided into three parts: one involving the stranded soldiers, the second involving the civilian sailors sent to rescue the army, and the third involving the air force in its efforts to protect the ships, sailors and soldiers from the Luftwaffe's onslaught. All three parts intersect and at the end the Evacuation of Dunkirk is successful. The main guy manages to make it back to England alive and in one piece.

The film doesn't focus on the backgrounds of the soldiers; likewise, there isn't a whole lot of dialogue. All we know is that they're there, they're (mostly) willing and volunteered to fight for their country, while simultaneously that they're scared and want to go home. The film clearly depicts the Britons as the "good guys" but at the same time it doesn't try too hard to appeal to any sense of patriotic bravado or heroism.
The musical score is dramatic and intense, though it does start to get kind of repetitive after a while. There's also this near-constant ticking sound until the end which I guess was meant to keep the audience on edge and raise the suspense. The whole cast is British, and no Americans are depicted in the film; strangely enough, there are virtually no ethnic minority characters in the film (unless maybe you count Scottish people as such). Also strangely enough, it's only rated PG-13, and blood and gore are kept to a minimum, though there's some considerable profanity in one scene.
Per Wikipedia, some real vessels and aircraft dating back to WWII (possibly even some involved in the actual Evacuation of Dunkirk) were used in the film, while the use of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) was kept to a minimum. Christopher Nolan also apparently held himself to a high standard when it came to historical accuracy, from what I've heard.

The stranded soldiers part of the film is consistently chaotic, and it also showed how people under pressure will often turn on each other. Ultimately I liked the film; I haven't seen a ton of war movies so I'm not really in a position to either agree or disagree with the people who've called it the best war movie ever made, but I think it's fair to say it's definitely up there somewhere. 5 out of 5 stars.
Rest in Peace DDO (2007-2018)

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