Dunkirk Review

Why Christopher Nolan’s 2017 war thriller didn’t work for me.

I feel like I need a weekend at the spa after seeing Dunkirk. It’s certainly impressive, but it’s too intense for its own good. The nonlinear editing was a strange choice, and the dialogue was mostly impossible for me to understand (bad mix or bad speakers?). 

The raw carnage of the events at Dunkirk hit hard, more so than any of the characters the film invents. It’s still difficult to believe that less than a century ago the world was at war for the second time. It, at times, almost feels fictional with the current state of things. The visuals displayed in the film felt real, which is what I find most impressive.

I keep drawing comparisons between Dunkirk and Mad Max: Fury Road. Not because they both feature Tom Hardy not talking much. But because they are both non-stop intense action thrillers. Fury Road, for me, succeeds on a higher artistic level. Even though neither slow down much, Fury Road strikes a better balance for the intensity. 

To me, Dunkirk is a lesson in intensity. I appreciate quiet films and the quiet moments in loud films. It’s very hard for me to enjoy a movie where there’s a stopwatch ticking almost the whole time. It felt like I was being manipulated over and over with each scene in a way that was upsetting at a deeper level than most manipulation in film.

I didn’t enjoy Dunkirk, but I appreciate that it exists and that I got to see it in 70mm.

Author: Brett Chalupa

day: software developer, night: comic artist

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