Trudie’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hans Zimmer: tick
Dunkirk is without a doubt the most visceral, nerve shredding cinematic experience I've ever had. Maybe it was just the sound in my IMAX screening being loud enough for me to jump every time literally anything happened, but I found my legs bouncing involuntarily and an innate sense of pure anxiety smothering me for the entire thing. Those 107 minutes felt drastically longer.
Hans Zimmer's score is relentless - there's not another word for it. When you're not being bombarded with bullets or waiting for a bomb to fall from the smoke shrouded sky you're being held by the throat by powerful music, that in itself is enough to cause unease. It's a constant and the atmosphere masked my ability to remember I was just in a theatre and not watching real men in front of me swim for their lives.
Large panoramic views of the beaches and incredible shots from the air looking down almost seem like a breather. A moment to take it all in and be away from the crowded panic of the grounded troops awaiting their fate. With limited dialogue, Dunkirk is a visual experience that concentrates on transporting you to the violence and attacking your senses without relief or hesitation. The intense blues of the water are only beaten by the fear of being in it. The framing says one thing - we are watching fish in a barrel.
The performances are all great but there isn't really a particular moment for anyone to outshine anyone else (with the exception of Tom Hardy who's last scene is commanding). Cillian Murphy and the men who bring him onto their boat show both compassion and loss. And yeah, I'll eat my words regarding Harry Styles. He wasn't spectacular or anything, but he held his ground very well and showed that people were wrong to judge before seeing the film. I hope to see him in more after this.
My only complaints are that in the scope of things the fact 400,000 men were on the beach isn't well represented or felt until the end. And the sound was a bit over the top for me. I understand the need for immersiveness but I don't want my ears to be ringing and I had a lot of trouble understanding most of the dialouge.
My mum hasn't been to the cinema in years so for a treat I took her to see this today and for someone who doesn't give a shit about movies, she was really taken aback by Dunkirk. So there's a positive.
I'm not surprised in the slightest that Nolan has crafted yet another immense piece of work. If you're able to I really reccomend seeing it in IMAX because I promise you no other film makes use of its features like this one does.