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Nolan continues to impress with ‘Dunkirk’

Special to The Prospector

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan’s first historically-based war film, offers the audience everything they’d expect from such an illustrious film director. A stunning IMAX visual format, coupled with action-packed stories and a sonically captivating score from Hans Zimmer all work together in harmony to define this movie as arguably one of Nolan’s best works.

Nolan’s war film is centered on the events that transpired during the battle of Dunkirk in May of 1940. Approximately 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force found themselves surrounded by German soldiers with their backs against the ocean and hoping for evacuation.

Dunkirk is by far one of the best movies I’ve seen hit the theatres in recent years from a technical filmmaking standpoint. Nolan does not only rely on his own filmmaking expertise in Dunkirk, but teams up with the experts he knows can deliver a fantastic movie.

Nolan and Hoyte Van Hotema (Nolan’s go-to cinematographer) shot the movie utilizing large-format film, which is a rarity in the digital era we live in today. The old-school film format offers viewers exquisite visuals that immediately suck you into the action of the film. This unique platform puts the viewer through a tense experience, and since most of Dunkirk is all about the action, Nolan and Hoyte offer viewers a very exhilarating experience from start to finish.

Audiences will not be disappointed to know that Nolan teams up with the famous film score producer Zimmer. Nolan had previously worked with Zimmer for the score produced in “Interstellar,” and I felt both of them paired together for a film that rewards audiences from a visual and musical perspective.

Zimmer’s musical intelligence charges the film’s action from start to finish, literally. The three different storylines occurring throughout the film are tightly woven together by Zimmer’s suspenseful score. Its underlying drone-like humming never ceases to end, creating a theatrical experience that feels very unique.

Despite the satisfying technical and sonic precision of “Dunkirk,” Nolan’s approach to telling the story of the film is where it begins to become a topic of debate on whether it’s a great or a mediocre film.

“Dunkirk” is told through three separate narrative segments that include different perspectives from the land, sea and air. This non-linear style of storytelling jumps from distinctive times and events throughout the film and it can be unpleasantly disorienting for viewers. Some will catch on to this storytelling style early in the film.

When your perspective is on land, you are in one story, but when your perspective is aerial or maritime, you are in two other different stories. This method of storytelling can be confusing because, as a whole, all of these stories take place in a very proximal area.

As a viewer, you really have to be paying attention to the different set of characters in order to realize when the time and storyline has changed.

If you are the kind of moviegoer who solely watches films to connect with characters and watch complex character arcs, then this film will disappoint you.

The primary focus in “Dunkirk” is more reliant on the situations and actions of its characters as a whole rather than on character development.

The dialogue in the film is scarce, overshadowed by powerful sound effects and Zimmer’s ceaseless score.  Because of this concept, the healthy amount of charismatic characters featured in this film, at first will appear to be one-dimensional performers even though they are not. Nolan makes sure that the characters and the actors perform magnificently to the point where it feels real.

RAF fighter pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) captivates you with terrified facial expressions and eye movements despite being constricted to the inside of a fighter jet. Tommy’s (Fionn Whitehead) unsettling desire for evacuation from the deadly beaches of Dunkirk will keep you closely observing his every move, hoping that he gets home safe.

Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is a film that is made with very careful precision, another Nolan masterpiece that should be considered as one of his best films thus far. “Dunkirk” needs to be seen at least twice, and it’d be a crime if you missed it on the big screen.

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Nolan continues to impress with ‘Dunkirk’