Friday, 11 August 2017
Dunkirk (3½ Stars)
I've been hearing so many good things about this film for months. "Brilliant". "Christopher Nolan's best film". "Incredible music". This excited me. I've been a fan of Christopher Nolan's films for years, but I was disappointed with his last film, "Interstellar", so I hoped that he's back on form.
I'm sorry to say that I'm disappointed with "Dunkirk". It's slightly better than "Interstellar", but I still rate it as the second weakest film in his career.
The problem is that Christopher Nolan became known very early in his career as someone who writes mind-bending stories, such as "Following", "Memento" and "Inception". I'll add "Interstellar" to that list, even though I consider its concept a failure. Now he's making a film about a true story which doesn't lend itself to temporal paradoxes, real or perceived, but he still wants to do something similar to please his fans.
"Eureka!" he cries. "I'll tell three overlapping stories at the same time, the evacuation of Dunkirk seen from the land, the sea and the air, but I'll run the stories at different speeds. That will make my fans happy".
Not this fan. I'm not happy at all. The film's asynchronous narrative is a gimmick for the sake of it. There are some exciting sequences in the film, but they're exciting despite the gimmick, not because of it. It would have been a better film with a traditional linear narrative.
Addendum on Saturday, 12th August, 2017
As expected, I have received complaints about the low rating I gave this film yesterday. Unfortunately the complaints were made on my Facebook page, not in the comments section of my blog. Never mind. My friends praised the film's cinematography and soundtrack. Those are two factors I didn't mention in my review, so I'll make up for it now.
The cinematography is excellent. The scenes are breathtaking, whether they're on the land, on the sea or in the air. For me the cinematography is the best thing about the film. Faultless!
As for the soundtrack, I'm not sure what my friends are talking about. It's good but not great. I love the droning of the planes, which is scarier than in any other aerial attacks I've seen in film. The dramatic music is also stirring in the tense moments of the film, but that's what I'd expect of any film that's worth the price of a cinema ticket. If you want to hear a brilliant soundtrack, watch "Baby Driver".