Dunkirk, American/Uk/French/Dutch movie (2017)

When a new year is about to start, I always enjoy looking at the things that will be coming out in that year for television and the big screen. And every year there are a few movies that you are looking forward to even more than others. Last year I had the pleasure of seeing a five minute preview for the movie Dunkirk in the cinema. It was shown right before Star Wars Rogue One, and I dare say that it got my blood pumping more than Rogue One ever did. Made by my favorite director Christopher Nolan, it would be a departure from his usual films. Known for movies such as the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, this would be his first outing in the war movie genre. Ever since that first taste of the film, Dunkirk became the movie that I really got excited for the most this year. I saw the film last night and it is with a heavy heart that I have to say I was definitely disappointed by it.

Don’t worry, I am covering my face for the rest of the movie.

Dunkirk is based on a true story that took place at the beginning of World War II. A large group of allied soldiers become trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. Cut off from their allies, and surrounded by German forces, the situation looks very grim for these troops. But then a call goes out and a fleet is assembled with the mission to try and evacuate as much of the trapped forces as they can. But it is not a fleet of navy vessels that is sent out, but instead a group of non combatants with fishing boats, pleasure crafts, and more vessels like those. But with German bombers flying overhead, it is an intensely dangerous job to attempt any kind of rescue. Much less by people who are not trained in war at all. Will the mission succeed, or is the insane plan doomed from the start?

Yeah, no need to look up in the sky, it’s definitely going to rain today.

Dunkirk is a brilliant movie from a technical point of view. The story that unfolds is covered by three different major threads that are interwoven together. One deals with the battle on the ground, another with the fight at the sea, and the last one tells the story of the dogfights high up in the air. What this movie manages to do is create an intense atmosphere of true desperation. The audience is thrust right into the middle of the action, and right from the start you feel the horror and fear these people must have felt throughout these terrible events. The camerawork and sounds created for the film are amazing and at times totally breathtaking. Never before has the sound of bullets sounded more terrifying than what you hear in this movie. All the effects and action you see in this movie are real and it really shows. Not once during the film did I have a moment where I thought that things looked fake. It all looked very realistic and that was another thing this movie did right.

I believe I can fly….

But for all it’s technical brilliance, there was one very important thing that this movie lacked, and that was the human element. All of the characters this movie focussed on might as well have been extras in this film. There was no background on them, no kind of emotional depth, absolutely nothing at all that could make you relate to them. And that for me made the movie a disappointment. When you look back in history to movies such as Saving Private Ryan or the more recentΒ Hacksaw Ridge, you felt for the characters that you watched. They were real people, and because of that you cared what happened to them. In this film, not once did I feel like that. All of them are just pretty much faceless people that are needed to move the story forward, but that’s about it.

Come on in, the water is great.

That’s why it is also very hard to talk about the performances in this movie. Tom Hardy, one of my favorite current actors plays a fighter pilot, that spents most of the film covered by a flightmask. It reminded me of his role as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. But Bane was a very interesting character and even though the character he plays in this movie is truly a hero, it was just simply not an impressive role. The one person that at least managed to put a bit of depth in his character was actor Mark Rylance. Rylance plays the role of one of the men that heeds the call for the rescue attempt, and together with his son Peter and a teenage boy called George heads out to sea. Mark certainly played the most interesting character from the film, and he is also the one that at least gets a chance to act. The rest of the cast are simply forgettable, not because of their acting, but because they have almost no dialogue to speak off.

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane no it’s erm….never mind…

Dunkirk could have been an absolute masterpiece. If Nolan had spent more time focussing on creating characters that you could actually relate to, this film would really have been a classic. Instead we now have a warmovie that is cold but still incredibly tense and with a gripping atmosphere. It certainly wasn’t a waste of my movieticket, and I still enjoyed it enough to recommend the movie to you. It deserves to be seen in the cinema, as this movie was truly made for a big screen showing. Just don’t expect to be moved by this movie in the way the true classics of the past were able to do.

I give Dunkirk a 7 out of 10 score.


24 thoughts on “Dunkirk, American/Uk/French/Dutch movie (2017)”

  1. Omg why is every major film critic raving about this! πŸ™„ I had a hunch this was going to be Nolan’s first big miss. I was never that impressed by the previews, honestly. I am relieved to hear you didn’t love it. I’m going to see it next weekend but now I can once again quell my expectations, amidst all the hype.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a thing I was wondering about as well. Yes, as mentioned this is technically a brilliant film. The shots look amazing, the tension is great, but in movies like this a human element is just very important. And that is what was really missing for this one. Don’t get me wrong it’s certainly not a bad movie, but I just expected much more from it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I see my autocorrect was on Dutch this morning lol πŸ˜‚ Am going to correct it to the right spelling ASAP πŸ˜€
      But yeah, I love Nolan, in this film though there were simply no characters worth mentioning. I would just as soon name everyone an extra πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh πŸ™‚ So are you Dutch?! Your English is really amazing. Like most Dutch πŸ™‚ I am not such a huge Nolan fan although I admire his work. I used to be more curious about him before…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep I am Dutch 😊 Thank you for the kind words, appreciate it πŸ˜€ Well, Nolan has certainly made quite a number of good and entertaining movies, but I agree that most of his work isn’t for everyone. This movie though…I don’t know it just didn’t have a heart so to speak.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nah, the real guy we should all be looking at in the last picture is the one who is staring straight ahead, looking right at us. “I know what you did. You don’t think I don’t know? I know.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great review, I’m about to write about Dunkirk too! But I’d have to say that I did love it much more. To me, the documentary-like narrative brings out how soldiers are often faceless. They lose their identity during wartime, fighting as a country and not themselves.

    The lack of characterisation presented a very different kind of war film, which shifts its focus away from dramatisation. Rather, it shows how these young soldiers haven’t truly lived their lives yet, before they are thrown into the battlefield. That said, I always love reading reviews from different perspectives, and really enjoyed this one. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for the encouraging words, appreciate it 😊 I think this is actually a first, so far we seemed to have had the same views on pretty much every series/movie we have seen. I always respect other people’s opinions as well, so really no problem. I know I am in the minority because pretty much everyone is blown away by this film, but for me the lack of characters to grow attached to just didn’t work. I truly admire what Nolan has set out to do here, and certainly did not think the movie to be a waste of time. But I just expected more 😊 Looking forward to your review πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally get where you’re coming from! Christopher Nolan’s movies are usually very character-driven, so this one can be a bit of a letdown in that respect. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊 It certainly wasn’t a bad movie, but I honestly don’t understand why this film is getting so much praise with characters that are so bland. Looking forward to your own thoughts on the film 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here, I really was looking forward to this one as I am a really huge Nolan fan. But this was a bit of a disappointment. Shame really, but it was not a total waste. There was still a lot to enjoy, so I did not think it a waste of my ticket in the end 😊 Thanks for your comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I did really enjoy this movie as I liked what they did with the different interwoven story threads. But you’re right, doing it that way gives less of a chance for the actors to really resonate with the audience and give them someone to connect with.

    The closest we got, I think, was the boatman and his family. You mentioned that you thought Rylance did a good job and I agree, but I did feel for everything they went through.

    The whole tense atmosphere of the film helped a lot too. There never seemed to be a dull moment as with everything that was going on you couldn’t shake the feeling that something might happen.


    1. Yeah, I know I’m definitely in the minority with this review, but the friend I watched the movie with said exactly the same as me. She also felt she just lacked the emotional bond she had with any of the characters. It was still a great movie from a technical view, and I completely agree there were enough tense moments in it, but yeah ultimately I expected a bit more from it.
      Still, it won’t change my opinion on Nolan as I still think he is a terrific director 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love Nolan movies and I don’t like war movies in general. Dunkirk was a bit of an exception, because I felt it really gave the vibe of how things were before. When you’re talking about war, it’s not about characters that make the story interesting. It’s about blood, gore and bullets. The emotions were depicted very well in my opinion. The technical aspects of this movie were stunning (They literally had cameras stationed on the airplanes for all the shots in the air). Even though it did seem a bit dragged out, it was a very good watch for me πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nolan still is one of my favorite directors, most of the films he has made have been totally awesome for me.
      I myself am not a huge fan of war movies either (although there are exceptions like for instance Hacksaw Ridge). While I really liked this film for it’s technical aspects, I did not really bond with the characters (and that’s usually a must have for me). That said, it’s still a good film, and definitely one one to rewatch at some point (which I will probably do so somewhere this year).
      Thanks for your great comment πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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