Christopher Nolan has done it again with a truly captivating visual masterpiece. Dunkirk tells the story of allied soldiers surrounded by a German army and evacuated during World War II – boasting an impressive set of actors such as newcomer Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and of course, Harry Styles.
The film effectively keeps tension right from the very beginning up until the very last shot. The story is told with a triptych plot – one focusing on the soldiers on land, the second on fighter pilots, and the third on a family sailing out to Dunkirk to rescue the soldiers. A lot of the tension is influenced by the incredible soundtrack produced by Hans Zimmer (Sherlock Holmes, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean) who uses a ‘shepard tone’ – where ascending notes are subtly cycled to give the impression of a never-ending rise in pitch, so that you’re always on the edge of your seat waiting for the climax. Nolan cleverly ties this in with the three storylines too – as one story is building in intensity, the other is set to build and the other is ending, so there is constant intense action.
What is particularly impressive about this film is that it manages to tell an incredible story without being over the top. The first 30 minutes or so of the film feature almost no dialogue, yet you are instantly thrown into an epic and unpredictable journey right from the soldier’s point of view. We don’t have to see the enemy or thousands of deaths and bloodshed to understand that the soldiers have a desperate need to escape.
Nolan tops it all off with stunning cinematography. The colour palette (sky blue, dark and orange) again reflects the narratives taking place in the sky, sea and on the beach. You can’t look away without missing an aesthetically pleasing shot, which will no doubt lead to a lot of attention at the Oscars. A combination of all these subtle details tie in for a fully intense, enthralling adventure that will have you on the edge of the seat for the whole film. This is definitely one you NEED to watch at the cinema to get the full effect – I saw it at The Light in Bolton who offered incredibly comfy seats and amazing popcorn!
This article is supported by The Light Cinema Bolton.