Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day. Or every other day.
I’ve put off reviewing this film because I don’t believe I’m articulate enough to properly assess this film.
Christopher Nolan has become a bit of a polarizing director as of late. He started off as the beloved indie darling with films like Following and Memento, became the savior of Batman with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and then Somewhere around The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar, The tide began to turn. I don’t know if it’s a reaction towards his fanbase or if it’s because people just have to be contrarians but there has been a huge outcry against him.
I don’t understand it.
A lot of superlatives are thrown around whenever there’s a new voice in cinema. M. Night Shyamalan was referred to as the “Next Spielberg” and Zach Helm (Writer of Stranger than Fiction and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium) was hailed as the next Charlie Kaufman. Some predictions are right and others are Zach Helm.
Christopher Nolan Is The Next Kubrick.
I have no problem throwing around superlatives and hyperbole. I’m the wild man that legitimately thinks Nicolas Cage is a phenomenal actor and Michael Cera is a comedic genius. These are crazy ideas I have to defend. But I shouldn’t have to defend Nolan. The man’s work speaks for itself and I think Dunkirk might be his masterpiece.
Dunkirk tells the true story of the evacuation of over 300,000 British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. Nazis at their back and every carrier getting sunk by either U-boats or enemy planes, the soldiers are essentially stuck there waiting to die.
Or a miracle as Winston Churchill referred to it.
The film is broken up into three sections:
The Mole (A stone and concrete pier protecting the harbour) deals with two soldiers- Tommy and an unnamed soldier just trying to find a way off the beach.
The Air has Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden as fighter pilots trying to save the commercial vessels from getting bombed.
The Sea has Mark Rylance, his son and his sons friend answering the emergency call sent out to all commercial vessels to help with the evacuation.
This isn’t a film where plot and character development are important. In fact, there isn’t any. I don’t remember a single characters name in this entire film. They literally could’ve been called pilot, captain, and soldier for all I know but it’s not about one characters story, it’s about all of their stories. It’s a film that strips away the artifice of backstory and concerns itself only about what you see on the screen as you see it.
When Tom Hardy is on screen, he’s the main character, When Mark Rylance is on screen, He’s the main character. Every character is the most important character because it’s about their struggles. You don’t need to know intimate details of someone’s life to triumph their successes or fear for their safety. They’re human beings and we should naturally want to see them live without the cliches of a “Girl back home waiting for me.”
I think it’s a ballsy move that’s reminiscent of Malick’s A Thin Red Line but I feel like Dunkirk is more effective in evoking emotional than that film because I believe that film meanders with no purpose. I know that’s the point but I feel like that became the point after he assembled the film. I dunno. I don’t like Malick.
I got distracted in Malick hate. Where was I? Oh yeah, The score. Hans Zimmer might have created one of the greatest scores of all time for this film. How’s that for a superlative?
No score has been as instrumental in creating tension since Jaws or maybe Psycho. The ticking of clock is heard literally throughout the film. It calls to mind the crocodile from Peter Pan. Death is a clock that never stops ticking and that makes every scene, every moment important.
This film will become more and more important and relevant as time goes on because it’s about hope. It’s about never giving up. It’s about people coming together with a common goal: To help a stranger in need. And God knows it’s a message that needs to be heard.