MOVIE REVIEW: DUNKIRK: AN INTIMATE EPIC

Warner Bros. Dunkirk is a great movie.

It's a big movie and its Christopher Nolan's best film in years. Nothing like anything we have seen him do in the past. Great cast and a solid look at history. It's a non-stop ride with strong performances and being shot on 70mm with an IMAX camera just makes it that much better. The movie gives you what you want in a big epic movie experience. The shots are superb, the editing by Lee Smith is outstanding, the camera angles are some of the best we have ever seen from Nolan and it all culminates in a true feast for the eyes.

Dunkirk tells the story of the evacuation of close to 400,000 British soldiers and the Allied Forces from the beach of Dunkirk, France in World War II. It's told in three parts; The Mole looks at it from the land. The Air looks at it from the air and The Sea, well, you figured it out.

Tom Hardy's performance as a pilot is a standout. He says very little throughout the entire movie playing a hero but leaves you wondering - imagine if he had lines. No one has much dialogue in this movie. No one needs it. Hardy's performance is one of the best this year. A lot of the movie is told through the eyes of his character Tommy. Fellow soldiers are played by Aneurin Barnard and Harry Styles (yes from the boy band and he's good.) Co-stars are Oscar winner Mark Rylance who plays a sea captain and Cillian Murphy who plays another solider.The scenes in this movie are so real you will feel you are right there. It is mesmerizing as you are transported right to the shores. The movie won't leave you for days. I couldn't stop thinking about it for a week.

Plus: It's an epic. Christopher Nolan calls Dunkirk an intimate epic. He set out to make a big movie but wanted us to feel intimacy on a human scale. He succeeded. He says wanted us to feel like we are on the beach with them. He wanted to shift between different parts of view so by doing it in three parts, he says he could establish this. We are on the beach, and in a civilian boat coming to assist and then from the air with the enemy.

Insider making of the movie interesting stat: Nolan says what he loves about IMAX is the extraordinary resolution and color reproduction that create rich images and incredible detail and that works well for intimate spaces. He says "the high aspect ratio on those screens, you're getting the roof of the set, the water creeping in from the bottom, you can get a very tactile sense of the situation we're trying to present."

Nolan says his editor edited as they went along. He says he doesn't have time for that as he is busy directing. They project the dailies on film everyday and they sit there and talk about what they have done and steer the ship. Lee goes ahead and edits but Nolan does not look at the cuts unless there's a problem. If Smith sees a problem and thinks they have missed something at that point, Nolan will go in and look at the footage. Generally he waits until filming has finished and then they get into the edit suite and start again from scratch. They view all the data and we start building it up from the beginning.

Rounding out the entire experience: Hans Zimmer does the score so well that it becomes another character in the film.

 

 

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