Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is tragic, beautiful, and bold filmmaking. Don’t go into this film expecting a paint by numbers narrative structure. Nolan does more than create a film, he actually creates an immersive cinematic experience for the viewer.
From the very first frame of film we are placed in a suspense filled war zone with danger around every corner. The camera follows several British and French soldiers as they literally fight for their survival and await rescue on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The soundtrack to this film consists of a constantly ticking time clock that can be heard through most of the film. This time lock is a grim reminder that there can only be two outcomes, victory or death.
Dunkirk is pure intensity from beginning to end. Nolan’s frenetic camerawork makes us feel as if we ourselves are trapped on the island with little hope for escape. This film may not be for the average film goer looking for a surface value entertainment film about war. Nolan never glamorizes the events taking place. He never glamorizes war. He never reveals too much about the characters involved or even gives us one particular hero to root for. He objectively allows the events to play out onscreen and allows us to get wrapped up in the human drama and tragedy of the moment.
Christopher Nolan once again demonstrates his superior ability at the craft of filmmaking and telling stories in an unconventional way. He dials down the entertainment value to create a film that’s gripping and realistic. At the end of the film, there is a sense of relief and a feeling that you’ve survived a harrowing experience.