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Great directors make great movies. And with Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan has made his second masterpiece, thrilling history retold, remembered and relished.
Few movies have so palpably conveyed the sheer isolation of fear, and the extent to which history is often made by people who are just trying to survive it — few movies have so vividly illustrated that one man can only do as much for his country as a country can do for one of its men.
There have been countless films this summer that have engaged in endless spectacle but Dunkirk is the rare blockbuster that will leave a bruise.
This is a powerful, superbly crafted film with a story to tell, avoiding war porn in favour of something desolate and apocalyptic, a beachscape of shame, littered with soldiers zombified with defeat, a grimly male world with hardly any women on screen. It is Nolan’s best film so far.
This is visceral, big-budget filmmaking that can be called Art. It’s also, hands down, the best motion picture of the year so far.
Nick de Semlyen
A spare, propulsive, ever-intensifying combat thriller, Nolan's history lesson is both a rousing celebration of solidarity and the tensest beach-set film since Jaws.
Christopher Nolan’s astonishing new film...is a work of heart-hammering intensity and grandeur that demands to be seen on the best and biggest screen within reach. But its spectacle doesn’t stop at the recreations of Second World War combat. Like all great war films, it’s every bit as transfixing up close.
Nolan has crafted a film that’s sensational in every sense of the word; it aims for both the heart and the head, to be sure, but arrives there via the central nervous system.
Dunkirk is a monumental, unconventional, and frequently stunning war movie.
Dunkirk is also one of the best-scored films in recent memory, and Hans Zimmer’s music plays as important a role as any character. With shades of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the melodies are glorious, yet Zimmer also creates an instrumental ticking-clock soundtrack that’s a propulsive force in the action scenes.
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