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Dunkirk Movie Review (2017) | Christopher Nolan Takes You Back in Time

Christopher Nolan‘s epic war drama Dunkirk movie lets us witness the plight of the stranded. These were young men in war who were akin to sitting ducks as Krauts delivered justice from above. The movie is also about brave civilians who came to rescue their stranded sons without blinking in the face of danger. If that weren’t enough, we have a lone selfless warrior fighting off air onslaught saving hundreds of lives in the process.

While you must think if that was all to it, to that I would say, there are far deeper trenches to explore if only you choose to dive in its gaping profundity.

Direction of Dunkirk Movie

While Nolan is already huge in the film industry you might think it’s a name enough to make a movie an instant hit. But put Nolan without his past accolades and you will still feel his amazing direction gradually doing wonders to uplift his work. The standard of his direction comes not only from his extraordinary filtered frames but also from the gravitas that he sticks to at all times during his movie run. And it soars right from the way his movies chug, from nothingness to something insanely tangible.

With Dunkirk movie, he creates this colossal image of a setup where people are having a nervous breakdown tied to a beach they can’t escape from. And those who even somehow manage to get into a boat, they end up getting bombed from above. People are scrounging for life, trying to get on the wagon that says there’s a way out. It is so beautifully done that you can’t help put yourself in the shoes of a soldier to understand how survival is the only paramount truth. Then you don’t feel like becoming a hero, then you don’t feel like running towards the bullets, and all those patriotic vibes go missing into the void.

A Week, A Day and An Hour

Like Nolan does it with most of his films, Dunkirk isn’t alien to experimentation either. He chooses to depict Dunkirk movie via different timelines. There are three stories that run in these timelines as they merge gradually into its primal plot. Each story is complete per se, and they interrelate with each other from the perspective of the characters in the story.

It’s about peeking into the vantages of different lives as they struggle to survive or pitch in to help the stranded soldiers of Dunkirk. And you feel the rush by reliving lives of those who have been stuck for a week, of those who set course for a day and the one who delivers maximum action in an hour of deliverance.

The mole on the beach is the spot where soldiers choose to hole up in hopes to catch the next ship home. Soldiers there have been stuck on the beach for more than a week. Their plight is the worst. With nowhere to go, they are vulnerable to enemy fire, hoping to somehow remain intact and saved from the incoming incursion.

While there is a trawler taking a bold move into the sea to help the soldiers, the viewpoint comes from an old man (Mark Rylance), his son and a young ambitious boy who wishes to make a difference. The journey we see there is that of one day. The trio are paragons of pluck as they help out numerous soldiers trapped in war.

The third one is in the form of heroic air support coming from Farrier (Tom Hardy). He is on one of the Spitfires with the outlook that skims an hour. Despite the challenge of running out of fuel, he dedicates all his time and energy into saving as many lives as he could.

The Real War Chills in Dunkirk Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Nolan takes us back in time. The war scenes are so real you feel the fearful vibes kick in as Bombers and Spitfires announce their arrival. For a second when you feel safe and decide to relax a bit, something bad happens and you are back to ground zero, where you started – trying to survive.

dunkirk movie still

The reluctance of brave soldiers to even plug the holes goes on to show how badly the enemies had them scared. There is ample dread in that scene and you could see it all through the eyes of the soldiers trapped in the trawler. The intense dilemma begins when Alex (Harry Styles) starts pointing fingers at Gibson (Aneurin Barnard) wishing to escape over his dead body. The fact that Gibson had saved their lives doesn’t budge their resolve either. It goes on to show how when we feel trapped we are willing to sacrifice others for our own survival. It is a contemptuous human trait that oversees humanity and whatever it stands for.

Then the air strike is absolutely ravishing to watch. The struggle to get the enemy in your crosshair will make you realize that. There lies a sense of service in the eyes as Farrier decides to go against all odds to get as many Krauts as he could before finally coming to terms with his fate.

Homecoming Conundrum

Men could literally taste home on their palates trying to escape the punishing onrush by any means possible. And yet that dream appears too good to be true even as the air strike, torpedoes, and bullets gradually take away every last straw of hope that they clung on.

Commander Bolton: You can practically see it from here.

Captain Winnant: What?

Commander Bolton: Home.

When Alex and Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) end up back safe, a blind man is welcoming the soldiers with food. Alex knew that they hadn’t done anything in the war and had simply managed to escape. He was under the impression that home would be people deriding them for their incompetence. He misreads the blind man assuming he was too ashamed to even look him in the eye.

All we did was survive.

Surprisingly they are given a hero’s welcome. They come to realize survival in an adverse situation like that was a huge thing in itself. It was like coming back from the dead.

Despite it being the debut project of Harry Styles, he does a surprisingly fabulous job. He is so unperturbed by the camera and so lost in the story that you almost take him for a full-time actor.

Blaming the Air Force

By the time we reach the end we see Collins (Jack Lowden), who was wearing the Royal Air Force uniform being shouted upon by a soldier.

Where the hell were you?

It is his perspective as a soldier who has seen only his part of hellish town, and who believes it was the job of the Royal Air Force to take care of them. It is like a blunt remark that goes unaddressed as Mr. Dawson reassures Collins that he be ignored that he knew exactly where the Air Force was. The RAF had a hard time coming for help owing to the range of the fighter planes and as implied using the “1 hour” mark was all the time the RAF had to hover over Dunkirk. That limitation had their hands tied.

What you also take from the above line is that even though you do everything in your power you will always be judged on the basis of your group, as a whole. And no matter how good you perform you will always be adjudicated by your failure in the end.

Shell Shocked Soldier and George in Dunkirk Movie

Cillian Murphy plays the Shivering soldier in Dunkirk who is picked up by Mr. Dawson’s Moonstone vessel. A scuffle ensues when he realizes that Dawson was headed for Dunkirk, the place from where he had somehow escaped. George (Barry Keoghan) pays the price of that scuffle as he falls head down with a serious injury. George had accompanied Dawson and Peter(Tom Glynn-Carney) as he wished to make a difference so that his name could come into the papers.

still of Moonstone from Dunkirk

You might think how George was nothing but a dispensable element to the tale, who arrived on the vessel only to accidentally die in the end. But if you pay attention to his import in the story you will realize that he was much more. He was a soul that carried goodwill in his heart who wished to be useful on the front. While he was just a kid trying to do the right thing, he ended up becoming a victim and died at the hands of one of his very own men. The soldier who knocked George down didn’t realize that he had hurt George so bad that he had ended up being dead. Shell shocked he was going through a rough time himself.

Peter does the right thing by not making matters worse for the poor soldier. He lets him keep his conscience clean without breaking it to him that he had accidentally killed George. Clearly, he hadn’t intended it to happen. Even though Peter was mad as hell he let it pass like a true hero himself. Eventually, we see him going to the local press to make sure George’s last wish to be on the papers were taken care of. George dies a hero even though he did nothing substantial.

Fear Abstraction

If you notice carefully Nolan chooses to not depict enemy even for a second (except that one scene where Farrier gets captured). He chooses to keep the fear abstract to show enemy in a light as something you are afraid of because it threatens life. Now it doesn’t have to be tactile because the dread is real and it can happen to anyone. War would forever barge in with that element. It is forever inbred. You would feel its clutches on being cornered like the men in Dunkirk. And war ugly as it is, would never have a face but that fear would have always one.

Whilst evacuation finally happened for the English, Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh) in the end chooses to stay fearless as he stays back to oversee French evacuation as well. It is one of the most selfless and most humane gestures that Bolton exhibits. He understands what young men like Alex failed to – putting others before yourself.

The Final Verdict

Dunkirk movie helps you relive a dreadful historic page. It displays the ill-effects of war without aggrandizing it, like many other directors choose to do. It is subtle owing to its alluring timeline display. Dunkirk movie is also abounding with countless lessons.

The score of the movie is absolutely gorgeous too. There is a constant sense of urgency in the music that prepares you for every minor build up. Hans Zimmer aces it once again to perfection.

Go watch it today!

Wish to relive some old vibes? Check out the review of Nolan’s magnum opus Interstellar as well.

Check out the trailer of Dunkirk movie here:

The Revenant Review (2015)

The Revenant is a gruesome gore blended with the right dose of beauty. Grisly and grizzly is written all over it. The biopic that carefully walks on the edges of jaws of death that Glass managed to return from, couldn’t have possibly ended up being more complete and perfect.

“My heart bleeds. But revenge is in the creator’s hands.”

Aforesaid escapes Hikuc’s mouth, a Pawnee who happens to the protagonist amidst complete chaos. He walks in and out of his life like a savior whose only intent seemed to resuscitate his dead and pass on the above rad message.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a genius behind the lens. Right from the very beginning you can’t help but notice how he walks you amongst the characters. With clean close up shots taken right next to individuals he lets you stay with them, feel the angst, the immediate pain and empathize. His famous long uncut shots are persistent here as well as they complete big takes without breaking the flow. His genius can be seen in parts where the camera swifts gorgeously between pumped-up killing characters on the battle ground and stays on the ones living till their death knell resounds. He even captures breath-gasps on screen by giving a proper follow up to its characters for emphasis.

Leonardo DiCaprio is downright exceptional. To say he ate real bison liver and slept in animal carcass would be to say the least. He wears the skin of Hugh Glass like a pro. There is a constant tension he carries throughout the movie where his brows barely relax and rarely speak of relief. The bear mauling bit is one jaw dropping memorable scene that will forever haunt us in our dreams. To fight right to the moment of being incapacitated was something he aced to perfection. The aftermath of the attack where he loses his vocals, speaks with a wheezing sound, hisses and coughs whilst talking, drinking and eating, are all marvelously mastered.

The Revenant reeks of heart-melting pathos. One of the saddest bits in the flick is when Glass crawls his way to his son’s cadaver. He stops twice whilst doing so taken aback by the sight of the blood and the corpse as he puts his head on his chest, and says:

“I am not leaving you, son. I am right here.”

If you wish to see pain personified, behold Leo’s eyes! Period. To watch him gnaw on that Bison liver whilst knowing it was the real one, couldn’t help you feel sorry for him. To see him get under the quilts of horse flesh naked to beat the cold and all odds, was how you would have wanted the Glass story to be like.

Watching The Revenant is like watching the enthralling head of Emmanuel Lubezki. Tranquil frames visit one by one amidst the crawling story, engaging you with its magnificence. Shots of winter ridden trees, capped mountains, frozen leaves, dewed branches, bubbles of water sluggishly moving ‘neath the river, cloudy moon shots are all badass results of Lubezki grandeur.

The Revenant is an intriguing affair with nature. You behold the might of nature in the biting cold, the hailing storm, big slaps of relentless water that take the protagonist down (water-shot was brilliantly taken as well) and animal savagery in the punishing snow and feel them tingling your bones. It celebrates gore fights where fingers get chopped off, ears plucked off, heads lanced with arrows. Downright brutality!

In all that barbarity, there is beauty lurking in its originality. The way things happened has been given precedence. That’s what makes it special and unique. It is a cold blooded biopic, played outrageously well by its ingenious actors.

Fitzgerald played by Tom Hardy can’t be ignored either. He isn’t all evil, but with one knee in perversion, he could have been anyone put in a dire situation. But he was the one insinuating trouble from the very beginning, trying to justify his act by pointing “you blinked” and attempting to put justice to his killing act. Tom Hardy plays John extremely well with his brilliant accent, and thoughtful eyes that he carries whilst giving explanations.

Bridger is a character that could have been any one. So Poulter plays him with perfection. A little kind to begin with, yet overpowered by power. Not exactly wimpy either but a stone trampled down by Fitzgerald, left without a choice.

The music of the flick is apt. Complements the sadistic theme the flick runs on. It is uplifting in a way, always suggestive of the imminent revenge lurking in the corner. Screenplay is confined, but is no doubt great.

There are brilliant well-thought of parts strewn all across the movie. Hugh’s dreams are quite poetic. They are well supported by whispers and a majestic backdrop that impart meaning. The music there too supplements it. Little things like, a bird escaping from the heart of Glass’ wife signifies her soul leaving the body. One time when Glass is hungry as hell, he sees a herd of deer crossing the river. He imagines he has a rifle, points the stick at them and signals shooting them. Such games of despair!

As the movie concludes, we see the wife of Glass conjuring him, ultimately leaving him alone yet again. It was a perfect way to end it. A typical Inarritu finish that leaves you with questions! The aforementioned is suggestive of how eager Glass was to visit his wife, but he is bereft of death once again. Sheer amazeballs!

Legend Review (2015)

“Love is a witness.”

Tom Hardy’s “the double project” Legend rams into the average door. So what takes it down the gnawing jaws of mediocrity? The plot! Yes the plot! Wish they had thought it through before helming it.

The drama isn’t engaging at all. There is a constant upbeat score that keeps going in the background that makes sure of it. You almost know you are in for some humour and constant light-hearted melodrama. So things work until you see some serious business going on.

The biopic had a lot of potential if the story building was given a proper look-see. But unfortunately the direction takes a weird sluggish pit stop as it proceeds with the Frances-Reggie sub-plot to bring the tale to fruition. A lot of real facts in the Kray dictionary go down the toilet as John Pearson’s story tries to concentrate more on Frances and Reggie than the twin story itself.

Screenplay is good at times, however not enough to drop the anvil. You also wish the direction to be a little more engaging. You feel this sudden need for more humour, more drama and more colours into the “not so kray-onic” world of gangsters. When the movie gets over, you instantly feel the void all the aforementioned absent elements leave you with.

The only reason you should watch this movie for is Tom Hardy. Watch him turn into something else yet again. This time he gets to play two of ‘em in a single flick. Both his personalities are very different from each other. He wears two different voices (one’s a monotone where he chews on his words mostly) quite gorgeously. You will marvel at his walk, the way he talks and reacts to a situation. It is both ballsy and reckless at the same time.

PROBABLE SPOILERS:

In the movie Legend, the chemistry between Frances and Reggie was terribly missing. Wished Tom Hardy’s Reggie to be a more feeling kind. His acting at other junctures is simply outstanding though. Like when we get a glimpse of his rad provoked anger at a badass moment when he stabs the hell out of Jack McVitie. It was probably the most memorable thing in the entire movie. That and the fight between the twins which was quite hilarious and emotional at the same time.

Go watch Legend if you wish to have a little glimpse into the history of the Krays and the London mafia scene back then. That and if you are a Hardy boy!

Mad Max: Fury Road Review (2015)

“Hope is a mistake.”

Mad Max finally returns.

Madness Unleashed! Two hours of orgasmic insanity taken up on the vanguard by mind numbing action, melting music of high-octane engine revving, breathtaking inane takedowns, colossal beastly war machines that only speak of destruction, flying rad bikes that skim the dunes with pizzazz and the unceasing adrenaline rush that doesn’t let you settle down even for a sec! Ice that with crazy visuals, top-notch 3D and exceptional score and “Witness”!

There is madness in the air and you could literally see it. It is the right amount of dark that doesn’t touch gore but still goes on to show a lot of death. With dope visuals and swell 3D, Fury Road becomes a rare coup. It breathes on an outstanding plot, deadly stunts and constant punishing annihilation. Right from the prologue the movie starts packing in exquisite action. It further inches into more lunacy with its unique storyline that would beat your imagination.

George Miller’s beauty is less Max and more Furiosa. Max just happens to run into her muck. Primarily the tale of the furious Furiosa who is on her way towards her origin, driving a charging War Machine, hatching a secret in the beast and keeping her greasy eyes of hope wide open for redemption. Charlize Theron imparts Furiosa  an apt depth, something that only she could have done justice to. Nicholas Hoult does a memorable Nux who is downright nuts. Tom Hardy sways in the Max boots with his laconic act that entails kicking a lot of ass.

Miller’s subtlety plays extremely well with the score, as suddenly the vibrant beats stop for Max to reveal his name. You can also perceive the adroitness in his direction when he shows things from Furiosa’s perspective by manifesting Max’s return after taking care of The Bullet Farmer.

“It is not his blood.”

With the flick being an action feast, a lot of things remain unsaid. However, Miller makes sure that people still fathom and connect with trivial things like nods and gestures by slipping in the right amount of gravity.

This movie is one of the best action films I have seen in ages which not only carries an awesome storyline but also a throbbing joyride into mechanical awesomeness on the relentless Fury Road. I am planning on watching this beauty again. Loco stuff!