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REVIEW: Dunkirk

Review by Dustin Heller

Dunkirk is the highly anticipated new film from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan; the man responsible for the hugely successful The Dark Knight Trilogy.  Some of Nolan’s other great works include the brilliant Momento, Inception and Interstellar.  He wears a number of different hats on this new film as he also served as writer and producer.  The ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy.  Dunkirk is rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language and is being released in IMAX, 70 mm and 35 mm film.

The film is set during World War II and follows three separate storylines(land, sea, and air) of the Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo.  Allied soldiers have been cut off and are surrounded by the German Army on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during the Battle of France.  The ground troops at the beach are helpless and nothing more than sitting ducks as they await rescue from the sea or the impending next attack.  As they wait, private boats are sent from England to bring home the troops and rescue anyone stranded in the ocean along the way.  Also, the film shows the perspective of the air pilots as they attempt to protect the ground soldiers and boats from oncoming enemy planes.  All of this cumulates into one of the most daring recues the world has ever seen.

Christopher Nolan has made a visual masterpiece with Dunkirk; a true masterclass in the art of filmmaking.  The only problem lies with a somewhat weak storyline to complement the beautiful and haunting cinematography and the incredible score by Hans Zimmer.  Dunkirk is essentially a movie about survival and Nolan has a way of placing the viewer right in the middle of the action and creating some truly heart-pounding tension.  It is unquestionably an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that keeps building and building until the final frame.  Unlike these other summer blockbuster movies with robots and superheroes running around, this film displays true heroism of the men that fought and died for their country and Nolan puts the horrors of war on full display.  This obviously takes some of the “entertainment” value out of the film, but its an eye-opening experience nonetheless.  There is no denying that Nolan is one of the great auteurs of his generation, but Dunkirk was lacking the cohesion to be considered his greatest film.  That said, the movie is still an amazing cinematic achievement that should be seen on the biggest screen available.

Grade: B

Dunkirk opens in theaters on Friday, July 21.

You can follow Dustin Heller on Instagram @eatindywatchindie.