Dunkirk

About two and a half weeks ago I went to see “Dunkirk”.

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I had been interested in seeing it since it came out in July but because I was so busy during the month of August it took me awhile to catch it. I was interested because it seemed like it would be a quality movie for grown ups about a serious topic during the summer of lame popcorn films and superhero reboots. Although I am more interested in World War I than World War 2 I still will see pretty much anything that is historically based on if the director and/or cast interest me. Director Christopher Nolan did very much interest me as did the cast, especially Academy Award Winner Mark Rylance, Academy Award Nominee Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy. As a whole I would say that movie did not disappoint. I was interested from start to finish. It’s not an amazing movie but it is very solid.

I’ve heard some complaints that the movie is boring but I really didn’t think so. It’s not “Saving Private Ryan” where the first half hour is going to knock your socks off. The film is more about  the surviving that happens in the moments in-between the battles. That isn’t to say there aren’t battles. Yet, yhere are more than enough gunshots and bombs to keep things interesting. There were two things I really liked about “Dunkirk”. The first is that the film truly is an ensemble. There is not star. The story is about the soldiers as much as it is about the generals as much as it is about an ordinary man who sails his personal boat to help rescue the soldiers. The second thing is the way that Christopher Nolan and the editors play with the concept of time and tell the story in a non-linear way. It gives the viewer a different perspective on things.

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Not to mention the non-linear storytelling allows us to see the same character in their before and after state in back to back scenes and that really does a great job of showing how war can change people. If another director had made this film the non-linear storytelling would have surprised me but since we are dealing with Christopher Nolan I wasn’t surprised at all. After all this is the man who has been messing with our concepts of time and space for years with films like “Momento” and “Inception”.  One line in the film really stuck with me. It is a line spoken about a traumatized soldier, the line is “He isn’t himself. And he may never be himself again.” It is a line that I can really identify with as there are events in all of our lives that forever change who we are.

The performances were all good. I would say that Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy are the standouts.

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Kenneth Branagh is good but his role is pretty small and he doesn’t have any great moments to truly shine. I was surprised that Harry Styles performance wasn’t distracting. The fact is I never really thought about the fact that it was him and that is high praise indeed considering I groaned when I first saw he was in this film.

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Like I mentioned before if you liked films by Christopher Nolan, you like the cast or you like films about World War 2 “Dunkirk” is certainly worth you time. I think there is a very strong possibility that the film and Christopher Nolan will be nominated for Oscars come the new year.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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