It is not unusual to link Christopher Nolan with outstanding movies. And yet, Dunkirk takes it to a whole other level.
Set in World War II, Dunkirk tells the story of the very significant —and yet not so known— events that took place in Dunkirk, where allied soldiers were surrounded by Germans and looking for an escape.
Where Dunkirk definitely excels is in the visual and sound departments, which combined shape the strongest representation of Nolan’s directorial style and the movie in its tone. The shots are carefully taken care of and the entire sound design makes for an epic environment that goes as far as producing sensations only through audio.
This is primarily why Dunkirk is getting so much recognition among critics and why it is considered by many as the best Nolan movie yet. For anyone who has seen the director’s previous movies and even more for those who have studied his style; Dunkirk means seeing Christopher Nolan reaching the maximum level in his unique filmic style [so far]. The director makes a fusion of image and sound that results in an epic and cohesive experience, which manages to elevate the storytelling resources to a whole new level.
Nolan is capable of reducing dialogue to present emotions and actions through the image and sound. There’s no need for a long story plot because the audiovisual device of joint image and sound present the story with a depth similar to that shown in any other “conventional” film.
It is also worth noting that the cast makes a fabulous job, given the little to none dialogue and the many emotions that they have to express through their faces and actions. You won’t feel particularly identified with one or more characters, but you can certainly feel what they do.
What might turn you away
As I mentioned before, this movie doesn’t present an overly complex story plot, adding to this the minimum existence of dialogues. Dunkirk does its best job without words, letting characters express their emotions through their looks and actions along with sound and photography. This is good for people who don’t mind or really like the lack of dialogue, a more contemplative story; but it can be really something that many people hate and translate into boredom or a bad movie.
Things can get worse for those who expect from Dunkirk the typical war movie, with action-packed scenes on repeated occasions, probably lots of blood and non-stop running and strategy. This movie spends most of its time showing humanity inside the horrendous war, the fear and the uncertainty. There is action, especially with airplanes, but the usual action sequences are not consistent with battles but more of dangerous and tense situations.
Dunkirk is an audiovisual spectacle, one that doesn’t show a superficial complex story or character development, but that definitely does it in a deeper level, thanks to its exceptional use of images and sounds as a single resource that excels into Nolan’s directing style. It may not be pleasing to everyone, but the clear and majestic stylistic mark is undeniable.