ayad’s review published on Letterboxd:
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I've been sitting here for 15 mins trying to write something. Having a movie scatter my thoughts everywhere while conflicting me is such a rare thing but Dunkirk achieves that and so much more. After this was over it directly started replaying it in my mind and as the credits started rolling I realised that I need to rewatch it ASAP.
Crisscrossing storytelling is tough and often times an unrewarding thing to do but Nolan does it so masterfully, blending and mixing between three unique and distinct narratives. These adventures play off each other so perfectly it's a thing of beauty to watch it all unravel and link together. Seeing young unknown actors take lead in huge movies like this is a wonderful thing, it's getting boring seeing the same faces again and again. ( Tom Hardy is an absolute gem even though he's speaking through a muzzled earpiece and we can see like 3% of his face his acting is still top notch. )
The obvious focus here was the overwhelmingly beautiful cinematography and attention to every nook and crannie. I say overwhelming because this movie ropes you in right from the start, it engulfs you in its setting and surrounding that's unforgiving and relentlessly brutal. With every passing second I felt like I was actually there on the warfront and in some moments I was truly shocked to realize that I was in fact inside a movie theater and not flying in the sky or on a sinking war vessel. It is crucial to watch Dunkirk in IMAX. The loud often deafening sounds are vital to the experience and they add a whole other level to this giant. Also there's just something magical about how this is shot I can't quite explain it. I walked into the theater like 2 minutes late and I was taken aback by the wonderful scale and camera angles. Wide long shots of the beach and surrounding mess are mesmerizing especially when one can see the destruction and chaos that is going on everywhere.
Why did this movie confuse me so? I'm still not entirely sure but I think it's because I couldn't stop holding my breath and clenching my fists while watching. I didn't expect a movie so dependent on events and circumstances that I was bewildered and a little confused when the timelines starting overlapping. I guess I wasn't ready for something that had so much thought put into it and so much expertise.
It took me around an hour and a half but I was finally able to rate this stunner that definitely requires a second watch in order to build on what I already have and collect my thoughts.