willmoviefan97’s review published on Letterboxd:
And the Oscar race has begun!!!
Whenever, I walk into a movie theater, perhaps the most important thing I look for with just about any movie, is the sense that what I just experience was a truly cinematic one. One that I feel is unforgettable, one that I know will stick with me for years and years to come. When I was walking out of "Dunkirk" last night, I knew that was just exactly I had witnessed with Christopher Nolan's latest. Heck, I couldn't stop thinking about how I just wanted to go back and experience it all over again, no matter how unnerving and exhausting of an experience it is.
The War genre is perhaps one of the most played out, to the point that it's really become hard for most of them to truly separate themselves from the rest of the pack. But, I'm in no way buffing when I say that this is truly unlike one I've ever seen. Right from the beginning moment of its eerie and atmospheric opening prologue, I felt so immersed and captured by everything occurring on screen that I felt as if I was a real person that was a part of this dire situation in a way I've never truly felt watching a war film before. Nolan has truly captured the humanity, struggle for survival, heroism, and feeling of such geninue fear of war hardly unlike I've seen any other filmmaker manage to capture before. Whenever bullets are flying, bombs are going off, people are drowning, planes are going down, I honestly felt as I was witnessing this all happening for real which just elevates this in truly being one of the most visceral cinematic experiences I've had in quite frankly maybe ever.
A lot of worries about the fact that this had been given a PG-13 rating, but once again within the opening minutes, Nolan assures that those worries shall really be put to rest. This film really shows you can capture the brutality and dread of war without having the need to shove blood & guts down your audience throat, violence isn't what really creates tension. Instead Nolan really allows for the tension and suspense to occur naturally within this dreadful situation happening on screen, which again really allows for you to feel as if you're apart of everything that's happening. You only ever hear the enemy, you never once see them, yet it never once loses the feeling of dread and terror that is unleased. It's more terrifying than any recent horror film I've seen in the regard, Nolan perfectly understands that less usually always means more. Nolan's signature non-linear storytelling technique is going to turn a lot of people off here, but for me it only really made me feel even more immersed and captivated in everything that was letting loose. Hardly any filmmaker these days is able to use this technique as effectively as Nolan can.
The dog fight sequences in the air going on with Tom Hardy (who once again is able to invoke so much emotions with his eyes) are I believe wholeheartedly amongst the best I've ever seen put to cinema. Yes, I definitely got an adrenaline feeling with these sequences, but the impeccable sound design and Hoyte Van Hoytema's cinematography really captures the sheer intensity of these set pieces that are amongst the best I've seen from any film of this year period. And everything that needs to be said about Hans Zimmer's flawless clock ticking score has already been said, it is pretty much the film's leading character and it's one of my absolute one of my favorite of his to date.
By this point, it has obviously been stated numerous of times already about how "Dunkirk" has little to no actual character development. And that is very true, we are hardly given any time of who these people actually are and where they came from. I understand exactly why that would turn many off, and in most films this factor would usually become bigger issue for me as well, but with the way I saw it here, from how in the very opening moment Nolan was really able to transport me into the chaotic nature of such a life or death situation, I sense that this was a very obvious decision made on his part. We're intentionally thrown in to the the middle of a war going on, with literally no time to waste (the clock is literally ticking), and it's practically every man for themselves if they want to make it out of this alive. This is a film so relentless in both its pacing and rising suspense, that I feel like spending too much time with any individual character could've really lessen the suspense of this situation. The characters are pretty much a character themeselves, the same way Zimmer's score, the sound design, the cinematography are all pretty much their own characters. Even with that being said, the entire ensemble cast across the board are terrific, and yes that includes Harry Styles himself (who would've thought?). No, I still haven't gotten over Mark Rylance robbing Rocky Balboa, and I probably never will, but man is that man one incredible actor.
Ok, I think I've done enough gushing as it is probably so I'll keep it simple: SEE THIS ON THE BIGGEST SCREEN YOU POSSSIBLY CAN. Unfortunately, I was not able to go IMAX 70 MM, but I did go regular IMAX, and it still made it worth every single penny. You are just not going to get the full scope and feel of this by waiting for it to hit Netflix, or even worse, your cell phone. It needs to be seen big, loud, and in a truly cinematic setting.