I can’t think of many directors with a solid stretch of quality films other than Christopher Nolan (some even to the point of masterpiece). His latest, Dunkirk, is surely one of his best. Forewarning: if you suffer from aquaphobia, I would advice being careful, because Dunkirk has some of the most intense scenes at sea I have seen this side of Jaws.
Set to a rousing score by immaculate composer Hans Zimmer, the movie starts right at the beginning of the end of the battle that happened in Dunkirk, France in 1940. The first thing we notice about the film is that (like in any battle), we do not know when a gun shot will ring out. There is hardly any warning to any firearm of any kind throughout the whole movie. Nearly every one that did occur made me flinch.
As any Nolan movie, the film does not rely on star power so much as acting. Most of the soldiers are new, upcoming actors, but we see some familiar faces as well. We get some veteran thespians such as Oscar winner Mark Rylance as a civilian helping with the rescue, Cillian Murphy as a soldier, Kenneth Branagh as a commander, and one actor as a fighter pilot who I will not reveal because it is quiet a nice surprise.
My only flaw in the movie was that the interceding timelines were a little off-putting. Foolishly, I forgot to remember that, as is the case of many Nolan films, one ounce of lack of attention could lead to confusion.
Parents, this is one of the few war movies that I can think of being rated PG-13. Nolan goes more for artistic than he does complete realism (at least when compared to other movies like Saving Private Ryan). The action is still intense, but there is no real amounts of blood and gore. It is mainly for the intense action sequences and some swearing (I think I remember two F-Bombs). Middle school and above should be fine.
Clearly, Dunkirk is one of the best movies of 2017, and will surely be up for many an Oscar nomination in the spring (hopefully Nolan gets his long overdue nomination for Best Director). While it is not the best of all war movies (nothing in my mind tops Apocalypse Now!), Dunkirk is surely among some of the greats.
Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2