This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Just A Person Who Watches Movies’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The English: Hahaha you French are always surrendering and running away!
Also the English: Everyone go watch this $150 million movie about how we bravely ran away!!
Dunkirk is the latest from the director that used to be one of the best before he crawled up his own ass with Interstellar. This film does not do very much to dislodge him from there.
On a base level, this film tells a pretty simple and well known story, and gives it a little more heart by focusing on individual characters. However, the film is mired by a gimmicky time frame (one week/one day/one hour) so that there will be some action throughout. This really hurts a lot of sections where we saw the results of an event, but the really personal parts of that event come later and we lose all the tension knowing what already happened.
Tension seemed to be the entire point of this film, attempting to make it seem like everyone is in a constant state of stress because they might die horribly any second. But this is defeated by having almost no on-screen deaths. Other than a few people falling down (presumably from being shot) in the opening scene, you never see another on screen death. For a movie that is supposed to demonstrate fear in a warzone, this is an absolute failure. You barely even see any bodies! There's a couple scenes where bombs are dropped and not only do you not see anyone dying, but everyone just stands up afterwards like they are all immune to explosions. With great films like Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge to contend with, and TV shows like Band of Brothers, this is a real true disappointment. It's barely PG-13, it's basically G!
Pretty much the only scenes I really enjoyed was the arrival of the little ships, and the final shots with Tom Hardy. The scenes with the old civilian man were pretty decent character stuff too. But I spent most of the movie thinking "is this it?". I do think this will resonate a lot more with the English populace, as it's a important part of their history and I don't begrudge them that. But for me, not so much.