After reading such amazing universal critical praise, my less than stellar experience of watching Dunkirk obligated me to write my first ever review on IMDb. I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan, in many ways I think he has truly changed cinema and how we experience film. I would go as far as to call him a visionary artist. This is why Dunkirk truly baffled me.
Let's think about the technical facts of the Dunkirk evacuation, it is said over and over in the film that there are 300,000 men on the beach. We see maybe 1,000. A mass evacuation this scale took hundreds and hundreds of vessels. We see upwards of 30-40. And the Luftwaffe was definitely assailing the beach, yet in the film we see a paltry 8 planes. There is something missing here, it's called "scale". This film has a complete dearth of it. And that is a shame and blaspheme to the experience of the true Dunkirk evacuation.
Beyond the obvious factual incongruities, there are glaring narrative holes. We have no connection to these characters, they seem cold and distant from us. There is no character development whatsoever in the film. I understand that Nolan was trying to show the entire character of the Dunkirk evacuees, but again we only saw a minuscule few hundred of what was supposed to be 300,000 so this argument is moot to me. We don't even get to see one Nazis either, so the "grand villain" that was forcing the evacuation was never even on the screen!!!!
The score and the sound design have been mentioned by many reviewers, and again I was so underwhelmed. There have been so many better films for both scores and sound design, too many to list actually. Yes, there is some stellar cinematographer, but we expect that from Mr. Nolan.
Finally, I've heard and read "One of the best war films ever" so many times now. Give me a break. There are many many better war films- Ran, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, The Thin Red Line, and Saving Private Ryan to name just a few. I'd suggest you rent or buy one of these instead of watching Dunkirk. I wouldn't waste my time viewing this film again. I hope Nolan's next film is far better.
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