2017 gave us two World War Two themed films, specifically Operation Dynamo – the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk in north France during May 26 to June 4, 1940. The first film is Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour and the second film is Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Today, we’ll discuss the latter film.
Dunkirk is a unconventional historical period film as he puts us right into the action in spite the fact the character development is sacrificed. Indeed, it is akin to three separate movies since the film takes place on the beaches, at sea, and in the air – but this enhances rather than detracts the narrative.
The film spends at least thirty minutes or more examining each of the the three settings, primarily from the soldiers’ perspective. And even though it is difficult to connect to the characters on a personal level, it is easy to root for them.
Besides the innovative three ‘chapters’ in the narrative, Dunkirk provides brilliant performances, particularly by Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, and Mark Rylance. As well as resplendent production, costume, and sound designs. It may not be my favorite film, but definitely one of the best films of 2017.
Quentin Tarantino re-introduced us to presenting films in 70mm film with The Hateful Eight (2015). Whereas digital film is frequently akin to watching television on the silver screen, the high resolution, wide screen instantly immerses the audience. Regular cinema-goers may not notice the differences, but there are significant distinctions among digital and 70mm film. The crisp and bright images allows one to notice and relish the little details that would likely be overlooked on digital film. Especially upon multiple viewings.
I would love to see this renaissance continue, as it harkens back to the inception of cinema history and the cinematic experience is steadily dying in front of our eyes with the video on demand platforms front and center distributing films. Of couse, an epic story is essential to 70mm and Dunkirk will stand the test of time, similarly with Nolan’s previous filmography.