DUNKIRK (2017)

                                                                                           Critic - No.119

Director: Christopher Nolan
Casts: Fionn Whitehead,Tom Glynn Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Tom Hardy, Cilliam Murphy, MarkRylance
Music: Hans Zimmer
Language: English
Genre: Action / Drama / History

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

After an experimental last entry, ‘Interstellar (2014)’, the contemporary auteur, Christopher Nolan is back with a story rooted to the hearts of many who were affected by the Dunkirk incident during the World War II. The significant historical moment is told in a gripping way with more personal moments than a grand scale war spectacle. By dividing the story into three parts (mole, sea and air), Nolan packs unpredictable turns and emotional peaks that converge into a powerful climax.

Running for a crisp 106 minutes, the film marks as the shortest film in Nolan’s career after the filmmaker’s debut, ‘Following (1998)’. Without focusing too much on the combats and violence behind the war, Nolan has crafted a film that highlights how soldiers and noncombatants work together to forge a bind out of a suffering. He has eliminated the back-stories and dived deep into the emotional space of the soldiers without touching the political side of the agony. Though we hear the speech of Churchill, it is delivered through a soldier. As most historical films, ‘Dunkirk’ does not have long monologues or inspirational speeches. The dialogues are kept minimal and strictly functional.

Nolan’s strong grasp of visual storytelling married with the atmospheric ticking clock score of Hans Zimmer, almost teleports the audience inside the time and space. We are able to feel the emotions, urgency and anguish of survivors and literally not one moment is spared from intensity. The seamless convergence of diegetic and non-diegetic sound keeps our heart pounding till the very end. The fancy of practical effects enhances the rawness and spontaneity of the film.

Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has collaborated with Nolan for the second time and has delivered a breathtaking piece of work. The combination of IMAX and 65mm film plays a significant role in one's almost instantaneous immersion in the world of the film.

Nolan has extracted seasoned performances from some new faces such as Fionn Whitehead and Harry styles. By casting lesser know casts, Nolan has added more authenticity to the chapter. Cillian Murphy who comes has the ‘Shivering Soldier’ has given a convincing performance with a complex character. Like his earlier collaboration with Nolan, Tom Hardy spends most of the time behind the mask.

‘Dunkirk’ is not only a cinematic achievement in bringing the fact-based story without too many cinematic conventions but also a significant addition to Nolan’s undisputed career. The accalaimed filmmaker has just crafted the best War film in the decade that will be remembered, cherished and celebrated for a long time to come.

Rooted with heart-rending realism and a gripping narrative, ‘Dunkirk’ is a thoroughly immersive war epic that pins up to be a true pinnacle in Nolan’s career.



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