The hype surrounding Dunkirk has lasted a little bit over a year. A historical war movie from Christopher Nolan? A war film on IMAX or 70mm screens!
Bombs and sadness!
Because the real life Dunkirk really fucking sucked. A whole lot of Allied soldiers in World War II were surrounded. It was one of the major setbacks of the war and could have lost the entire war if things didn’t slightly work out.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about some war things.
Tightly packed, little soldiers, just trying to get home.
War. War never changes. Except for World War 1. That changed a whole lot of things. The number of soldiers to die in this war was far higher than any war before it. They had less swords and horses, instead focusing on technology could kill. And it in World War II, that technology could now fly, dive under water, bomb, and more.
And in the city of Dunkirk, France, the allies were completely fucked. The French and British forces were surrounded on all land sides by the Germans. The sides without Germans had water. Sure, on the other side of that water was Great Britain, but it was far away.
The soldiers could only bunker down and hope they could get rescued, because every day the enemy came closer and took out more of their supplies. But even the water wasn’t safe. The Germans had U-Boats, and of course planes dropping bombs. Soldiers just wanted to get home. If the armies were wiped out, the Allies would have lost the war and there would not have been a second chance to come back and take over.
So how are they going to rescue so many soldiers? And how many aren’t going to make it? Well, either way, people are not getting out of there happy.
Featuring three main plot lines, and a lot of dudes mostly. Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Cillian Murphy, Damien Bonnard, Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Will Attenborough, and Kenneth Branagh.
French? British? Doesn’t matter. Basically everyone there was whiter than the sand though.
Dunkirk has potentially been one of the more hyped films of 2017. More than the superhero movies, more than whatever Leo DiCaprio might find himself in, more than the return of the NFL (probably not true). It is a summer blockbuster, that is Nolan directed, and probably headed straight for several Oscar nominations despite not waiting until the end of the year.
And yet, here we are, I am giving it a 2 out of 4.
First of all, I will openly acknowledge it is technically a wonderful work of art. The camera use, the cinematography, the explosions and a bit of the thrill.
But the biggest issues I heard about it ahead of time that I blew off came full force and hit me hard. The story just was weak. It relied entirely on tense sequences and not knowing how the different plot liens interacted to build the entire story. It was a good idea for a story, but the big story elements were mostly missing.
It took me weeks to write this review, partly because of how daunting writing the plot summary portion would be. For example (and probably realistically so), we barely hear character names. I remember only one or two after the film, everyone else is just a soldier or citizen doing their best. The rescue is the story, but the rescue is only so strong.
The other reason it took me awhile is because it just took so long to figure out my feelings behind it. I went in expecting a 4 out of 4, figured it would be a 3 out of 4, but then realized that to me it ends up being just a bit more mediocre in the long run. I am shocked, I am confused, and I really just wanted something much, much more.
2 out of 4.