Welcome To The Review!
Welcome back to another review from LL! So, we are now back to the current releases in the cinema. Don’t worry, I will be mixing them up every now and then, but there are a lot of films coming out that I look forward to watching and reviewing. This review, follows the battle of Dunkirk, in which we follow three narratives about the historic story of WW2. So, this time there will be spoilers!
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Three Battles, One War!
First off, I want to say that films, following/telling the stories of past wars, are very sensitive subjects (especially for the older generation), which is why I love watching war films, as it can give insight into what it must have felt like back then. Dunkirk (for those who don’t know) is about the events, in which the French and British had to evacuate off the shores of France, due to the Germans pushing in and surrounding them. There were 300,00 British men that needed to be evacuated, and countless more French, but due to their location being on the beach, it was open land and they were bombarded by airstrikes.
This shot is a perfect example of how it must have been like, for the troops attempting to escape. Surrounded and squashed by other troops, fighting the same battle, and the only thing surrounding them was the English Channel. One troop looks up as he hears the screaming sound of a German airplane, in which they all have to hope they survive the attack. This shot is the epitome of what happened at the battle of Dunkirk. Waiting, hoping and surviving!
Air, Sea & Land!
Towards the beginning of the film, Nolan introduces three narratives, to show the different perspectives of each set of people. Air was following three Spitfire pilots (one being Tom Hardy), in which they cover and protect the land troops, as well as taking out any further German Luftwaffe, progressing to attack the allies troops. The second narrative follows the British troops on the ground, and their desperation to escape the beach of Dunkirk. This narrative follows Harry Styles (trust me I’m not a fan of his, but he did have a knock out performance), as he manages to escape the beach multiple times, but ends up having a lot of bad luck, as each success leads to a failure, in which he returns to the beach as they wait for saving.
The final narrative follows an old man, with his son and friend, as they agree with the Royal Navy to commandeer their boat to rescue the troops. However, he decides to take it out himself to save them. Within the event of crossing the channel, they save one of the pilots, who had been shot down, followed by the second of three and, as they continue their journey, they end up saving a whole lot of troops from a shipping boat, covered in oil. Each narrative connects to each other and shows how it felt for every person involved.
When watching this, what hit me the most in this film was the fact that, when following each narrative, I was constantly waiting for something bad to happen. And most of the time it showed that. Two of the pilots were shot down and at the end (BIG SPOILER), the final pilot (Tom Hardy) ran out of fuel for his spitfire, continued his final air support, and unfortunately got captured by the Nazis. Another event that happened was when the first pilot was saved, he became so shocked that they were heading back to Dunkirk that he ends up hurting the son’s friend, who ultimately blinds him and kills the young lad (which to me was tragic). But the one event which I thought was the bravest, involved Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh). He emphasised that he would stay, and wait until the French troops were evacuated as well.
Was It A Loss Or A Victory?
Well, historically, the battle of Dunkirk has and always be known as one of the biggest losses, for The Allies, in World War 2. It was painful for hundreds of thousands of troops, having to wait and pray for hope, as they were surrounded. This film shows that the gloomy, dark story had some light patches, in which we could call the events a moral victory, thanks, in part, to the fact that most of the troops survived after what seemed like an eternity of waiting. What made it seem like an eternity was the sound for me. It was constant fire (from air and land), the waves of the channel, and the sound of running footsteps by the troops (as well as engine noise from the pilots but that’s to be expected). However, I felt that the sound drowned out all the dialogue from the film. Whether it was intentional or not, it does work to signify what it was like then, but at the same time it was hard to hear what they were saying.
This shot, to me, signifies hope! Three spitfires, as the air support, and a private boat, with its captain heading towards the trapped troops, to save them. Nothing more is needed in the shot. A medium shot of both crafts, surrounded by nothing more than the ocean and the sky; it is simple, but a very strong message. Save the troops!
Overall, one of the best films based on true events (personally), my favourite film of this year and one of my favourite films of all time! Beautiful cinematic work, representing terror, hope and action from all perspectives. The sound could have been a bit better (when hearing the dialogue of characters) but I feel like Nolan can get away with it, due to his knack for injecting fright and unknowingness into a war film. Editing was amazing; the cutting of the frames came at the right time. And in my opinion, it didn’t need flashy actors. The choices they made wouldn’t matter but the cast that was chosen was pinpoint perfect!
Well that wraps up this review, what did you think of it? Did the shock and terror make you respect the image of Dunkirk? Or did it desensitise you too much to the terror our troops end up going through? Leave your thoughts below whether they be critical or not.