Christopher Nolan films are events. Even the smallest details released about a film of his is analyzed for days on end. Heavily influenced by noir and sci-fi, his films tend to leave people cold (that is the nature of noir). Once Dunkirk was announced, everyone was taken aback that Nolan was doing a film about a heroic event that occurred during World War II. Myself included. Well, Dunkirk is unlike most films being released this year in what it sets out to do and what it is. There will not be an experience as visceral as this for the rest of the year.
Finding themselves surrounded by overwhelming German forces, French and British Allied soldiers try desperately to survive as one of the greatest rescue operations mounts to evacuate the soldiers from slaughter off of the beaches of Dunkirk, France.
This movie is sparse and almost entirely lacking dialogue, all of which works to the film’s advantage. This is an experience through and through that puts you in the shit with all of the soldiers. This film is told from three different perspectives focusing squarely on the evacuation of the British. You feel as if you’re in the air in the cockpit of a Spitfire plane or on land dodging bombs and bullets or on a small yacht at sea rocking with waves heading to uncertainty. The experience is absolutely terrifying and disorienting as we do not see any of the German forces, attacking planes excluded. Their presence is felt, as at any moment the soldiers are ducking bullets and bombs with no clear direction of where it’s coming from making the stakes dire and claustrophobic. Adding to the disorientation is that the film is nonlinear, keeping you on your toes about not only where something is happening but when. I was initially skeptical of this film seeing the PG-13 rating, but make no mistake this pushes the rating very far despite next to no blood and gore.
We follow the film mostly through Fionn Whitehead’s Tommy. While there’s nothing in the way of character development, something I would usually balk at, I was immediately sucked into to Tommy’s situation, empathizing with him and everyone in this film on just how bad this situation is. I wanted to be saved as well with Tommy by my side as we make our way back to the United Kingdom. This film is relentless as the suspense and tension kicks in two minutes into the runtime and doesn’t let up until the last ten minutes. I could feel the sweat run down my palms and forehead throughout the movie. Same goes with Mark Rylance’s Mr. Dawson and his son Peter played by Tom Glynn-Carney. The two are assisted by the young George played by Barry Keoghan. The entire time I was wondering if they are in over their heads as the three head off to save as many soldiers as possible and get themselves killed trying to do the right thing. I then feared for their safety even more when they pick up Cillian Murphy’s downed pilot. And yes, Harry Styles as Alex is very good despite me feeling rage towards the character by the time the credits rolled.
What makes this film such an immersive experience is Nolan’s direction, the sound design, and 70MM IMAX. Nolan shoots this big epic intimately, doing things I didn’t think were possible with an IMAX film camera. This is Nolan’s second time working with cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema and the two have created some of the most beautiful images in any of Nolan’s films yet. The shots are full of color despite the setting and story. The way IMAX is used in the dog fights is the closet thing you can get to feeling like being a pilot. Hell, watching this was like seeing Luke pilot an X-Wing in Star Wars for the first time like I was ten again. When Tommy moves from one perilous situation to the next, the IMAX image makes you run or swim with him. And with the imagery and technical craft that’s being displayed on the screen, the sound design is all around. You will jump out of your seat as you hear the booming gunfire literally surround you. You’ll be ducking as the bombs hit the beach and tear the mole apart as the soldiers each waits their turn to board a boat to safety or doom. Adding to the tension is Hans Zimmer’s score which is also embedded in the sound design. That ticking clock is there throughout the film adding to the urgency and unease. While I feel every score Zimmer has made for Nolan thus far can be listened to like an album, this score is so supportive of the film itself, it will be hard to listen to it on its own. With that said, the end credits suite is lush and beautiful. After going through the film and with that bittersweet final shot, the end credits music fills you with so much emotion, that I saw a few people walk out in tears.
This is a film that demands to be seen on the biggest IMAX 70MM or IMAX laser projection screen possible. I’d be hard pressed to not to recommend to make the most out of a trip and travel to closet IMAX 70MM or Laser projection possible. If that’s just not feasibly possible find a 70MM theater showing this and settle for nothing less. This is a film that will lose its impact on your TV or even on your phone (yikes). I don’t think this is Nolan’s best film, but it’s up there in his filmography. This an absolute home run that needs to be seen large and loud. With so many factors diminishing the experience of seeing a movie, it is a testament to Christopher Nolan to make something like this with the various distribution formats that are keeping the theatrical experience a unique must see event.
Summary: You come home with a little extra something
and Bucky helps you take care of it.
Word Count: 1,094
Warnings: none, unless you hate puppies
A/N: Mostly I just wanted Bucky to play with a
puppy. Sue me.
“Shh…” you hissed,
clutching at the struggling little body in your jacket. The puppy wiggled and
made a small squeaking noise as you hurried to your room, praying that no one
would see you. Tony had never explicitly told you that you
couldn’t have pets, but you were pretty sure the Avengers tower was a dog-free
zone. But what were you supposed to have done? Left the poor little guy,
shivering in that alley?
⠀ Character aesthetic:
⠀ Steamy warm coffee and a good book
Bloody flaked knuckles
Dark silent woods housing a raging river
A family of seven stray dogs
Closet filled with flannels
Hannibal Lecter and his office
Update on Krycek (the dog): I asked some friends who know Krycek and are taking care of him today where the owner got the name. They said his name is ALEX and he’s from Russia, so that’s where he got it. Is this real??