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Film Review: 'Dunkirk' Just Adds to Christopher Nolan's Genius

by Todd A. Smith


(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)


Winning Record 



From a business standpoint, not a creative standpoint, filmmaker Christopher Nolan seems like the White Tyler Perry.

All of Nolan’s films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Interstellar,” make boatloads of money like all of Perry’s films, TV shows and plays.

And like Perry, Hollywood gets out of Nolan’s way giving him total creative freedom and autonomy because executives know Nolan has a winning track record.

Both filmmakers are geniuses in their own right.  Perry is a business genius, fully understanding the desires of his fan base.

Likewise, Nolan is a cinematic genius, also fully understanding the desires of his fan base.

If Nolan’s talents were not obvious in his previous films, it becomes more apparent in “Dunkirk,” an edge of seat, stressful adrenaline rush about a group of British and French soldiers trapped on a beach, with German soldiers closing in on them.

“Dunkirk” begins in a French coastal town, with Nazi Germany giving the good guys all that they can handle from a military standpoint.

The ensemble film begins before United States military involvement in World War II, and it is apparent that the war was on the brink of going terribly wrong, which would have adversely changed the course of history forever.

“Dunkirk” is actually three movies rolled into one storyline.

The film “Dunkirk” looks at the rescue of the British soldiers from three different vantage points, those trapped on the beach (the mole), those trying to provide cover via the sky (the air) and the civilians who used their family boats in the rescue operation (the sea).

What makes “Dunkirk” so stressful is not just the explosions and gunfire that will lift audiences out of their seat.  What makes the film so tense is that the town Dunkirk is only 50 miles by sea to Great Britain and safety.

However, with the German troops bombarding the British and the French, Great Britain seems millions of miles away.

To make matters worse, there is only a limited amount of time to complete the mission or hundreds of thousands of teenage soldiers will be lost forever.

Although “Dunkirk” has Academy Award talent with Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) and future Oscar hopeful Tom Hardy, the young newcomers make the ensemble movie work.

Performances by Fionn Whitehead (Tommy) and Barry Keoghan (George) drive home the fact that many soldiers were little boys, not men, who literally had the weight of the world on their shoulders as they tried to protect the entire continent from the tyrannical desires of Adolf Hitler.

Keoghan’s performance is the best of the bunch, bringing innocence to war and tragedy.

Cillian Murphy brings out how stressed and shell-shocked war can make someone in his role as the Shivering Soldier.

Unfortunately for “Dunkirk,” some of the military jargon and heavy British accents are hard to decipher.

But fortunately for “Dunkirk,” the movie is so good that not understanding the accents and jargon will only make moviegoers want to see the film again.


And seeing a Nolan film multiple times is par for the course because he has perfected giving his fans and Hollywood executives exactly what they want in a feature film.






This article was published on Friday 21 July, 2017.
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