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FLICKS: Dunkirk

Posted on 02 August 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Don’t rush to go see Dunkirk. Make plans to go see Christopher Nolan’s latest action movie. Sure Dunkirk fulfills the requisites for a typical summer blockbuster, but this film contains much depth of detail. This film is about loss and retreat, yet is filled with triumph.

The running time is less than two hours, but Dunkirk feels longer in a good, epic way. Given his previous work with Memento, Inception and Interstellar, it helps to understand Christopher Nolan’s conception of time. Dunkirk tells three stories that take place in one week, (The Mole), one day (The Sea) and one hour (The Air). 

Dunkirk opens on The Mole, in which British soldiers walk abandoned streets in Dunkirk, France. Paper propaganda from the Nazis tells the residents that Germany is in control of the city.  As Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) reads the propaganda, his mates are gun downed by an unseen enemy. Tommy escapes to the pier where a Red Cross ship awaits departure.

Volunteer civilian boaters are the focus of The Sea, which features Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son. Rather than waiting for the British bureaucracy to figure out the proper procedure to rescue stranded soldiers, Mr. Dawson, his son and his special needs deckhand George impulsively join the rescue operation. Their first rescue involves a shell-shocked soldier (Cillian Murphy), whose behavior could create disastrous repercussions.

The Air ties up the entire narrative of Dunkirk. Three Spitfire airplanes (with Mercedes engines) are sent out to provide air support to the rescue operation. With limited fuel supply, the Spitfires are outnumbered by the Nazi airforce. When the team leader is downed, it is up to Farrier (Tom Hardy) to protect the British ships at sea.

Understanding the concepts of time and location in advance will enhance one’s viewing pleasure of this movie. As the timelines converge, we witness multiple perspectives of the same situation (i.e. the bombing of a minesweeper) and we see how it affects all the protagonists.

With limited dialogue, Dunkirk is a visual treat. With the exception of Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy, Dunkirk features a cast of young faces with potentially strong careers in the future, most notably Fionn Whitehead as Tommy. Dunkirk will be an Oscar-worthy contender that is best seen on the big screen this summer. Go see it!

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