BY CONNOR MURPHY –
Between the explosion of sounds and visuals, “Dunkirk” had moments of softness, sadness and a glimpse into humanity on the brink of destruction.
Director Christopher Nolan, the creator of other big blockbusters such as the recent Batman series with actor Christian Bale, and the films “Inception” and “Interstellar,” composed this visually stunning film based on a signature, historic moment in World War II.
“Dunkirk” takes place in France, 1940, when German forces are advancing on British and French troops who have been pressed to the beaches. Under heavy fire from the air, ground and water – efforts are made to evacuate the men in every way possible.
Though originally released in July 2017, the film returned to the big screen recently in advance of the Oscar nominations, released last week. “Dunkirk” was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture.
The film opens with a group of soldiers running through an abandoned town near the sea. Houses, streets and shops are empty. Firing ensues, and only a handful of them make it to the beach where hundreds of soldiers are seen lined up waiting for the ships that will take them home.
Actor Harry Styles takes the role of a foot soldier whereas actor Tom Hardy pilots a fighter jet, protecting the beaches of Dunkirk. Where the devastation truly emerges is from Mark Rylance’s character – a man who takes his son and another young man across the channel to help rescue soldiers he doesn’t personally know. He risks him, his son’s and another’s life in a small civilian boat where they can be bombed at any second.
The individual stories of the film are what really cover the emotional tales. Later in the film, a battleship heads to sea loaded with men on their way home but who will never set foot on land again. German planes are unleashed on the ship in the night, drowning, burning and massacring hundreds.
Soaring planes, booming weaponry and battle cries prompt tears of joy and sadness throughout the film. With very little dialogue, “Dunkirk” expresses itself through actions and mannerisms rather than words. It encapsulates the true horrors of war and shows that combat isn’t all flashy medals, celebrations and valor. These men became heroes at home – but at what cost?
Running at approximately 2 hours, the film never seemed to drag. The audience is engulfed by the film through full immersion thanks to the visuals and sounds – it felt like you were right there next to the soldiers on the beach.
“Dunkirk” set the bar high for future war films. The historical accuracy and extreme detail are things that propelled this movie into the spot for a Best Picture nomination.
This is the first in a series of reviews The Pioneer Times will run until March 4 of all the films that have been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.