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Dunkirk : Review

A war movie directed by the fantastic and talented Christopher Nolan hits theaters this weekend. The WWII epic stars Tom Hardy, once again with an apparatus around his face, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and pop star Harry Styles is also on board for the ride. The expectations were high going into this offering and that could have affected the overall experience for me. Dunkirk is a very well done film but I found it a bit confusing and even a little slow at times. When the pressure and stress of the scenes is on that is where Nolan shines. It’s truly amazing the care and thought put into recreating these events, but there are other elements at play throughout that make it a bit uneven. The story focuses on soldiers stranded on the beach at Dunkirk. Hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by enemy forces during a fierce battle in WWII. Some of the scenes are so frustrating and hard to watch and this keeps the intensity strong while you absorb the horrible situation these brave men had to face. The movie jumps around and some of the dialogue is hard to pick up and this leads to some of the confusion about who was where, and what exactly was happening at any given moment. The film is split into three parts; one taking place on land, one on the sea, and one in the air.

As far as execution of the material, Nolan hits a home run. The way the bombs are dropped from the sky with the enemy planes approaching from the perspective of the troops on the ground is frightening. I can only imagine the horror of being on that beach just waiting and hoping one doesn’t come your way. The soundtrack was interesting and I dare say slightly annoying at times. I could not get it out of my head that the music sounds very much borrowed from the recent Radiohead song, “Burn the Witch.” Hollywood veteran Hans Zimmer rides the wave of intensity with the sounds and it has an almost Jaws like effect where it speeds up as the action builds. The acting is excellent, even Harry Styles does a nice job. There is a lot to like about this movie, but it’s not perfect and it lacks any type of character development. It’s just a bold and crude story about a horrific experience during war time.

Bottom line: Great execution of a famous war story that is a little uneven and confusing at times. If you like war movies this is for you.

MovieMark Grade: B

Rated PG-13

107 minutes

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