It is never a wise idea to trust marketing. In fact, the only purpose it serves is to bring people in to see your movie. I was sucked into Christopher Nolan’s newest “blockbuster” ‘Dunkirk’, which showcased the historical Battle of Dunkirk, which occurred from May 26 to June 4 1940; I had never really learned much about the event in school, let alone have researched it years before Nolan decided to turn this into an early Oscar contender (Indeed, it might happen), but much like his previous film ‘Interstellar’, its first trailer intrigued me. Seeing a group of young men duck for cover from an oncoming plane set to bomb the beaches of Dunkirk gave me an excitement for Nolan’s next blockbuster. Upon further seeing this retelling of an event which happened so long ago, I felt tiresome, while at the same time admiring the work put into this.
Much like James Cameron, Christopher Nolan knows how to bring an audience in, especially with his 70 mm IMAX screening fetish. His mission is to take you into the world of the movies he is making; whether it be the gritty city of Gotham (‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’), a character’s dreams where anything can happen (‘Inception’), or the far reaches of space in the search for life (‘Interstellar). Nolan makes his rides enjoyable taking the term “Blockbuster” and implanting it in your mind with anticipation for his next project. In ‘Dunkirk’, we are transported back in time to history. While it may be necessary to see it in IMAX for the full effect, you will still get the feel of an older movie through its cinematography. Despite its tiresome feel, Nolan is a master of the paintbrush; there is beauty to be found with each stroke. Shots of the beaches, and aerial views of the wavy waters Tom Hardy’s pilot flies through, are enough to inject a feeling of awe in your system when all else fails. (Add effective sound design which will get an Oscar nomination, and you will know this is a Nolan epic.)
‘Dunkirk’ has the Nolan touch, but it is missing one ingredient that separates this from the rest of his blockbusters: A sense of epicness! ‘Dunkirk’ was marketed as a big-budget action movie with explosions, shooting, and a suspenseful sense of danger. (Go ahead! Blame my expectations for being too high! Most people would blame theirs if they had that feeling!). To its credit, ‘Dunkirk’ does its job well by having a touching ending and an understanding of the event by being its own movie and not a string of historical epic clichés. I have to add at least a cohesive and action-packed story-line would have made it great. Mark Rylance, Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, and Harry Styles also star.