Director – Christopher Nolan

Last Looks

One of the greatest and my personal favorite directors, Christopher Nolan has officially revealed his latest work Dunkirk. Nolan is a cinematic genius with his  brilliant imagery and storytelling. Top films include Inception, Prestige, Memento and the Dark Knight Trilogy. Even though I feel Nolan is at his best creating psychological thrillers I am intrigued to see what he will do with a war film, differentiating what we are used to seeing from him. With so may other great past works I am sure Dunkirk won’t be any different.


In the 1940’s, Germany infiltrates France then traps and ambushes their military on Dunkirk beach. Multiple rescue efforts of anyone including civilians trekked the dangerous waters in order to save their soldiers. The film is composed of three parts representing a story that takes place on land where a british mole attempts to escape the island in the course of a week. A story that takes place in the ocean with a father and son who take their own ship and attempt to rescue   soldiers that takes place over the course of a day. Then a story that takes place in the sky with three spitfire pilots who are aiding their troops from Dunkirk over the course of an hour.

Nose Candy

“Where’s the bloody airforce?”

“I’ll be useful sir”

“Rolls Royce Merlin engines. Sweetest sound you could hear out here”

Why waste precious tanks when they can pick us off from the air like a fish in a barrel?

“What do you see?

“It’s either us or the enemy now is not the time to be particular”

Style Points

  • Opening sequence as Tommy escapes the German soldiers
  • Point of view spitfire aerial shots
  • Lights going in and out of the ship during ambush
  • Waves swallowing the soldiers
  • Rearview plane mirror shots
  • Binocular shots
  • Collins spitfire crash to the ocean
  • Legend Hans Zimmer’s incredible scoring

Role Play

One of the major delicacies of this film is the lack of dialogue. I believe this was done to focus more on the story as a whole as opposed to getting emotionally invested in individual characters. Not saying that anyone could have played these roles as I thought each of the performances utilized great expressions and physical attributes to aid their roles as opposed to speaking. Nolan loves to keep it in the family with appearances by Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy here. Nolan has stated that even though he does not write roles with specific actors in mind that he only could envision Tom Hardy portraying Farrier. I thought this was a good choice as Hardy taps into his Bane portrayal of having a powerful performance with little dialogue. That is why the three-part breakdown is so appropriate here because it focuses on several scenarios being the Battle of Dunkirk was  an event that affected so many.

Money Shot

All three storylines coincide with one another as ships carrying the troops reach all of the relief that has been sent to help them. As the troops begin to board the rescue ships German pilots have one last attack on the military men killing multiple in the process. Farrier has the option to leave running low on fuel but stays and helps, shooting down the German aircrafts who attempt to ruin the rescue mission.

Final Touch

Christopher Nolan has done it again and classic cinema lives with another great film only suitable to witness on the big screen. The three-part breakdown dedicating a story to each of the military elements land, water and air was unique. The opening chase scene was incredible as Nolan has always been a master of great introductions. I also can’t speak enough of the incredible scoring as well with one of the greatest to ever do it Hans Zimmer providing beautiful sounds in a film with little dialogue to help aid the storytelling. Nolan and Zimmer always make for a great team.  The only real knock on Nolan is he has an inability to tell a story from A to Z sometimes over complicating the film leaving viewers puzzled which may occur to some watchers here. But I enjoy it as sometimes with Nolan movies it is going to take more than one watch and the directors dvd commentary explanation to get everything. If you are a fan of Nolan’s you couldn’t help but notice and appreciate some odes to his past work.  Also there is no real special effects which is refreshing just incredible cinematography which made the film seem more realistic. If you think of Nolan and war film you get everything you could envision with  a story that is both educational and enjoyable providing viewers the ultimate movie going experience.

-Caleb Harris

Any thoughts on Dunkirk or the write up? In the comments do your thing.