Christopher Nolan, a name that needs no introduction. As one of the most notable filmmakers in the world today, Nolan has earned the right to not be questioned. "Unconventional" is his calling card. So when it was reported that his new WWII epic, Dunkirk, boasts a running time of only 106 minutes, a far cry from the two and half and three hour staples we've come to expect from iconic war films, the only thought running through my head was "in Nolan we trust".
In the early stages of World War II, the Germans have cornered Allied forces onto the beaches of Dunkirk, France. And rather than wasting valuable tanks to finish them off, the Germans bombard these helpless soldiers with an aerial attack of gunfire and bombs. But as word spreads to the common folk of Great Britain that their young fighters are stranded on the beachfront, they take matters into their own hands and embark on a heroic rescue mission across the channel to retrieve their soldiers.
Look no further than works such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Memento, Interstellar and many others to understand that Christopher Nolan has made a career off of unforgettable filmmaking. His latest entry is yet another spellbinding experience that refuses to waver in intensity. Nolan's direction is sharp and on point while Dunkirk's cinematography is nothing short of majestic. But when all is said and done, the true all-star behind this film is Nolan's regular collaborating partner, composer Hans Zimmer. His relentless score keeps your heart pounding as the bullets fly and the bombs explode throughout the entire duration of the film.
Although Dunkirk represents an exceptionally-made piece of cinematic art, it doesn't come without its blemishes. Dialogue is rare to come by, not that it necessarily matters, but it leads to a lack of character development and any real semblance of a story that ultimately plagues the film and keeps it from being an absolute masterpiece. Instead, Dunkirk simply unravels as a sequence of events which capture a truly amazing real-life occurrence. And the film's underlying dichotomy of both bravery and cowardice in the face of danger is delivered eloquently. Dunkirk is another strong piece of filmmaking from Nolan, something we've come to expect with each new release of his, but its complete disregard for character building and failure to offer a true narrative structure absolutely destroy the film's re-watchability. Oscar chatter is already being thrown around for this July release and I really wouldn't be surprised one way or the other. But if you're in search of a gut-wrenching and high octane throwback to World War II, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk will certainly take you on a ride unlike any other.
Stars: 3 stars out of 4