Unless you've been living in a cave for the last six months, chances are you'll have heard about Dunkirk. This summer's most anticipated film hit cinemas last month, and has quickly been tipped as one to watch. FJ grabbed the popcorn and took a trip to the cinema...
The film is director Christopher Nolan's first historical drama- his previous films include Memento, Inception and Dark Knight Rises. He portrays the slow, arduous evacuation of English troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, as told from three perspectives; on land, water and air. We follow several individuals and witness the ordeals they endure.
Despite the film's big budget, it appears that Nolan wasn't trying to create just another glossy blockbuster. The director kept CGI to a minimum, using real naval destroyers and spitfires to ensure that the cinematography was as authentic as possible. Rumour has it that Nolan even purchased a vintage WWII aircraft for the sole purpose of filming it being shot down in a battle sequence. He also employed 6,000 extras while filming on location in Dunkirk, to properly recreate the sheer volume of troops stranded on the beaches. This has resulted in an intensely visual film with maximum impact.
Another thing that stands out in Dunkirk is a lack of historical context and the minimal narrative. This was deliberate, according to Nolan, who states “Dunkirk is not a war film. It's a survival story and first and foremost a suspense film. So while there is a high level of intensity to it, it does not necessarily concern itself with the bloody aspects of combat, which have been so well done in so many films." His reluctance to get bogged down in politics and history allows the viewer to focus instead on the individual people, the soldiers, and their battle to get out alive. It's a refreshing and moving perspective.
Overall, Nolan has created a visual thriller in Dunkirk, and we think that his combination of minimal narrative and authentic cinematography has resulted in an epic masterpiece. One things for certain - this is a film that deserves to be watched.