Carn’s review published on Letterboxd:
Christopher Nolan is my favourite director ever. For me, he has proven his meticulous craft across a range of genres.
He has created a trilogy around a superhero whose film catalogue was at rock bottom, in the process making it the gold standard for the superhero genre. 'The Dark Knight' in particular being one of my favourite films. Nolan also set his sights on improving blockbuster films. Whether he is dazzling with magic, going into someone's mind or travelling across space he has been able to entertain and pose questions.
Now he sets his sights on a war film. Prior to Dunkirk, Nolan had generally worked in fictional films with some kind of fantastical element to it. This however, is his first real shot at a historical setting, and he has produced a masterpiece. I enjoyed both 'The Dark Knight Rises' and 'Interstellar' but I did have problems with both and feel they were nearer the bottom of his filmography. Not with Dunkirk. This is in his Top 3 films for me, possibly higher.
Based on the evacuation of Dunkirk during WW2, this film is structured across 3 areas; land, sea and air. Each one shows a different amount of time (1 week, 1 day and 1 hour) and whilst it takes time to get used to, it is a clever and an exciting way to frame this period of time.
Visually this film is stunning. Nolan crafts interesting shots and isn't afraid of holding a shot at times. He adopts the physical sets which really helps this film and is something that should be admired in this CGI heavy era of filmmaking.
Acting across the board is good with no one being a weak link. Harry Styles impressed me as well. A huge strength of this film is its sound effects and the soundtrack. Both are extremely immersive and help create tension. Zimmer utilises similar techniques to his Joker track, with music continually rising.
With a short run time compared to most Hollywood films it was a breath of fresh air to have a film not be over bloated for the sake of 2 hours.
Christopher Nolan really is at the top of his game and is the director that everyone should be aiming to beat. Dunkirk is easily the best film of 2017 so far and is probably in my Top 5 Films ever. I can't wait for whatever Nolan does next.