Dunkirk (2017): Christopher Nolan Places The Audience At The Heart Of The Dunkirk Evacuation To Tedious Results (Review)

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]
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Dunkirk tells the true story of the evacuation of allied soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during World War II. The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy and is directed by Christopher Nolan (Insomnia, The Dark Knight, Inception).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Let me share a personal tidbit about myself: one of my biggest fears is the prospect of being placed in the deep sea to which I will drown almost instantaneously because I can’t swim and large bodies of water freak me out. There are certain moments throughout Dunkirk where many characters are jumping ship or are faced with the task of attempting to stay afloat when nothing is under them and I truly felt a sense of unease during it. There are a handful of sequences director Christopher Nolan manages to execute extremely well where you’re placed squarely in the shoes of the soldiers as torpedoes are being shot at them and bullets are piercing through whatever form of refuge they’re in. Everything occurring prior to these sequences, unfortunately, are rather a slog to get through. By no means am I advocating for mindless action droning on or disgustingly brutal violence to get my goat going, however when you catch yourself wondering when the next set piece will occur rather than remaining enthralled with the characters on screen, this is somewhat of an issue.

As Dunkirk features as ensemble cast, there were only a few who I believe were the true standouts – Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy (the second husband in my dreams behind my everlasting love, Matt Damon). These three and their stories were the ones I was most intrigued with and I honestly would’ve been fine with watching a separate version of the film solely based on the experiences of their characters. Harry Styles certainly surprised me as the film progressed and his character was given much more to work with. Murphy and Rylance’s chemistry was immediate with the former giving an incredible portrayal of a soldier with clear signs of PTSD (Murphy heavily researched on the then-unnamed disease and it definitely shows on screen). And, of course, there’s Tom Hardy… Is there any role that man can’t do? What he manages to convey with a simple frustrated glance is a talent I will forever be dumbfounded by.

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Tom Hardy’s upper facial region is spectacular | Warner Bros.

The other members of the cast certainly gave serviceable performances. As we weren’t given much to learn about their characters, there simply wasn’t enough to grow an emotional attachment with which is obviously not to suggest that I didn’t care for their unimaginable plight. I actually found myself feeling more connected to the extras like the injured and poor doomed nurses! SPOILER When that one nurse was distributing blankets and referred to one of the soldiers as “love”, I felt a pang in my stomach that this woman will probably die. END SPOILER Those little personality subtleties can go a ridiculously long way and although I didn’t hate any of the main cast, unlike the aforementioned Big Three, their respective characterizations could’ve been handled much better.

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Nolan has let it be known that he aimed for the PG-13 rating for Dunkirk as he strove to depict a “survival story” that focuses on the suspenseful components of the work rather than the “bloody aspects of combat.” While this is an admirable goal and one that someone of Nolan’s calibre should be able to accomplish, combining the lack of care for these characters and the sanitized violence makes the film feel rather lackluster.

I don’t need a hand-holding kumbaya to feel anything for Fionn Whitehead’s character, however if we’re going to be focused on these individuals for the duration of the run time, I want to see the appallingly horrendous conditions the real life soldiers experienced. I want to feel the grime on my hands and the sweat on my forehead. Nolan has also stated that he didn’t want the film to be “bogged down in the politics of the situation” which is all well and good, unfortunately any form of context was rarely given at all so we were left with higher-ups discussing various plans I could only decipher bits and pieces of. Don’t spoon feed me but damn it, don’t make me construct the spoon.

Imagine what could’ve been had Dunkirk tracked the nine psychologically grueling days these soldiers experienced through the vision of an R-rated Christopher Nolan. 

How Were The Other Aspects Of Dunkirk?

The technical components of Dunkirk are phenomenal. There is no two ways about it, from the opening sequence to the conclusion, the sound design and editing are at the top of their game – particularly the sound. You truly feel your stomach growing weary as the bomber jets are approaching and there is nowhere to hide. That opening was incredibly well done, the not knowing affected me the most as you’re aware of imminent danger yet you’re essentially handcuffed until you find some semblance of a sanctuary. 

Lest we forget that sound of Nolan’s ticking pocket watch mixed and synthesized via the genius mind of his frequent collaborator Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar) which ties the film beautifully together. 

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]

If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, you’ve probably watched this film already. If you’re looking for an impactful ride regardless of who is depicted on screen and interested in an event not nearly enough people know about, check out Dunkirk.

Dunkirk receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Christopher Nolan Reveals Why He’s A Fan Of A PG-13 Rating For ‘Dunkirk’

Christopher Nolan‘s impressive directing filmography has spanned almost twenty years, with many taking note of his talent following 2000’s thriller Memento. He directed one of the best film trilogies in recent history with his Batman trilogy and conquered the box office with 2010’s Inception as well as his last feature film, 2014’s Interstellar.

His highly anticipated take on a major event during World War II with Dunkirk releases this summer and fans cannot wait to see how the heavyweight director tackles what Nolan refers to as “a survival story.”

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Don’t Call It A War Flick

While speaking with the Associated Press, the issue of handling a PG-13 war film arose since some wonder how a film depicting the terrors of war could possibly be anything less than an R. With other classics as Saving Private Ryan and Letters from Iwo Jima all garnering the R-rating for their various portrayals, Nolan explains that his movie aims for more suspense than carnage:

“All of my big blockbuster films have been PG-13. It’s a rating I feel comfortable working with totally. ‘Dunkirk’ is not a war film. It’s a survival story and first and foremost a suspense film”

He continued by hinting at the “high level of intensity” the film has – which gets us all giddy with excitement – and compliments the other films who utilize the bloody brutality for their respective take:

“… [While] there is a high level of intensity to it, it does not necessarily concern itself with the bloody aspects of combat, which have been so well done in so many films. We were really trying to take a different approach and achieve intensity in a different way.”

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‘Dunkirk’ | Credit: Warner Bros.

 

Nolan concluded by stating he wants to get as many butts into the theater as possible:

“I would really like lots of different types of people to get something out of the experience.”

Lest We Forget What Can Nolan Can Accomplish With A PG-13

The second installment to Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight is lauded as not only one of the greatest sequels of all time, but also one of the best comic book films ever made. The violence depicted in the film is immensely terrifying despite there being virtually no gore on screen, Nolan focuses his depiction of terror strictly on the psychological components of an individual.

The Joker’s Magic Trick sequence is nothing short of pee-in-your-pants-inducing even though it is only a few seconds long with no blood shown. Nolan doesn’t need to rely on overly graphic sequences to demonstrate his ability to highlight violence. The PG-13 ultimately opens the doors for many (appropriately) aged audience members to witness his take on the events at Dunkirk, a prospect Nolan hopes to achieve come July.

Dunkirk stars Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and Harry Styles and will hit theaters on July 21st, 2017.

(Source: The Playlist)

Check Out The Trailer For Dunkirk Below:

What do you think of the PG-13 rating? Let me know in the comments below!

A Guide To Some Awesome 2017 Films That Aren’t Sequels, Reboots Or Superhero Flicks!

As another movie year rolls around, moviegoing audiences have more choices than ever on what to spend their hard-earned dollars on. With the upcoming slate of various Marvel and DC superhero films set for release this year, the usual sequels and reboots Hollywood churns out, plus the gloriousness of Star Wars live-action film instalments, certain audience members may want to check something new out…

That is where this trusty guide will come into play! Here are a few films releasing in 2017 separated into categories that you may find intriguing.


Fan Of War Movies? Check Out:

1. Dunkirk

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Director: Christopher Nolan.
Release Date: July 21st, 2017.
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles.

The highly anticipated addition to the Christopher Nolan filmography, Dunkirk releases in July and tells the real-life story of a group of soldiers stranded in France during World War II who must make their way to the shores of Dunkirk in hopes of a rescue. The film sees Cillian Murphy and the disgustingly handsome and talented, Tom Hardy reunite with their Inception director and also stars last year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor (beating out Hardy), Mark Rylance. Dunkirk will certainly be a hit at the box office this summer for its appeal to not only war buffs, but fans of Nolan’s impeccable direction.

See The Trailer Below:

2. The Zookeeper’s Wife

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Director: Niki Caro.
Release Date: March 31st, 2017.
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Bruhl and Michael McElhatton.

Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, The Zookeepers Wife tells the true story about two Warsaw zookeepers, couple Antonia and Jan Żabiński portrayed by Jessica Chastain and Heldenberg respectively, who saved many human and animal lives during World War II by hiding them in animal cages. Chastain is one of the best actresses working in Hollywood today so it will be interesting to see her tackle on this incredibly heroic role while rocking an accent.

See The Trailer Below:


Striving For A Laugh?

1. Snatched

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Director: Jonathan Levine.
Release Date: May 12th, 2017.
Stars: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Meloni, Ike Barinholtz and Wanda Sykes.

Snatched sees comedienne Amy Schumer team up with the illustrious Goldie Hawn as a daughter-mother duo who take a trip to Ecuador to relax until crazy and wild hijinks ensue! Jonathan Levine‘s previous directing credits include the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen dramedy, 50/50 and 2013’s zombie-comedy Warm Bodies, so he has shown that he able to depict beautifully emotional relationships in the comedy genre. We will ultimately find out whether Schumer and Hawn have the same chemistry as the above films mentioned when Snatched hits theatres this May.

See The Trailer Below:

2. Rock That Body

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Image: Comingsoon.net

Director: Lucia Aniello.
Release Date: June 16th, 2017.
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Paul W. Downs and Demi Moore.

Rock That Body sees the writer-director of Comedy Central’s Broad City, Lucia Aniello delve into the world of feature film with her directorial debut about a bachelorette party that turns deadly. The cast of Rock That Body has some incredibly talented and funny women including Scarlett Johansson, Ilana Glazer and the breakout star of last year, Kate McKinnon. The film was originally scheduled to be released on June 23rd, however it was bumped up a week to June 16th which shows the studio has faith in this female-centric dark comedy.

A trailer has not been released yet for the film.


Family Movies To Take The Kids To!

1. Coco

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Director: Lee Unkrich.
Release Date: November 22nd, 2017.
Stars: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt and Renee Victor.

This Disney-Pixar 3D animated collaboration is guaranteed to have families flocking to theatres when the weather becomes chillier and December grows nearer and nearer. Coco tells the story of a 12-year-old Mexican boy who’s increasingly interested in music, even though it’s forbidden in his household. The film’s trailer depicts stupendously wonderous colors so it will certainly be a great-looking movie!

See The Trailer Below:

2. Wonder

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Credit: Lionsgate

Director: Stephen Chbosky.
Release Date: April 7th, 2017.
Stars: Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

Based on the best selling novel of the same name, Wonder pairs together the young talent taking the world by storm, Room‘s Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts. The film follows Auggie Pullman (Tremblay), a boy born with facial deformities who must navigate his way in a new school. Roberts and Owen Wilson play his parents and you are guaranteed a few tears shed in the theaters when this releases in April.

A trailer has not been released yet for the film.


Thrilling Action/Adventure And Sci-Fi

1. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

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Director: Luc Besson.
Release Date: July 21st, 2017.
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Kris Wu, John Goodman and Ethan Hawke.

Based on the French sci-fi comic series, Valerine and Laureline, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets sees director, Luc Besson of The Fifth Element fame attempt to portray the story of Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan as time-traveling government agents. The film also boasts a couple of incredibly talented actors in Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke and John Goodman, who gave a chilling performance as Howard in last year’s 10 Cloverfield Lane (Click for Review). Although the source material is certainly popular, it will be interesting to see if audiences are still interested in seeing young adult-centric films set in a dystopian future.

See The Trailer Below:

2. The Dark Tower

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Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Director: Nikolaj Arcel.
Release Date: July 28th, 2017.
Stars: Idris Elba, Tom Taylor, Jackie Earle Haley and Matthew McConaughey.

Arguably one of the most anticipated films of the year, The Dark Tower is based on the wildly popular series of novels by Stephen King. The film follows Jake Chambers (Taylor), an 11-year-old adventure seeker who discovers clues about another dimension called Mid-World. Upon following the mystery, he is spirited away to the land Mid-World where he encounters the lone frontiersman knight Roland Deschain (Elba) who is on a quest to reach the “Dark Tower” that resides in End-World and reach the nexus point between time and space that he hopes will save Mid-World from extinction. But with various monsters and a vicious sorcerer (McConaughey) hot on their trail, the unlikely duo find that their quest may be difficult to complete. The novel series is beloved by many so there is enormous pressure this film must overcome already, although having two heavyweights such as Elba and McConaughey may allow fans to place their faith a bit more in the film adaptation.

A trailer has not been released yet for the film.


Hungry For Horror Or Thrillers? Got You Covered:

1. Baby Driver

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Image: JoBlo.com

Director: Edgar Wright.
Release Date: August 11th, 2017.
Stars: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey and Jon Bernthal.

Edgar Wright returns to the directing chair with this suspense/thriller, Baby Driver. Similarly to Valerian, Baby Driver boasts an all-star cast including Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm and tells the story of a young, talented getaway driver (Elgort) who is stuck working on an ill-conceived heist. Viewing these set photos just fuels the hype machine and it will be awesome to see how Elgort tackles a role that sounds intriguingly similar to Ryan Gosling‘s character in 2011’s Drive.

A trailer has not been released yet for the film.

2. The Circle

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Director: James Ponsoldt.
Release Date: April 28th, 2017.
Stars: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan and Patton Oswalt.

Another book adaptation based on the novel by Dave Eggers, The Circle follows Emma Watson as a young, ambitious tech worker who takes a job at a Facebook-esque powerful internet corporation, quickly rising up the company’s ranks, and soon finding herself in a perilous situation which involves privacy, surveillance and freedom. She comes to learn that her decisions and actions will determine the future of humanity. Tom Hanks stars as the head of this corporation and seeing these two remarkably talented individuals go head-to-head is an event I cannot wait for!

See The Trailer Below:

3. Get Out

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Director: Jordan Peele.
Release Date: February 24th, 2017.
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford and Caleb Landry Jones.

One half of the hysterical comedy duo of Key & Peele, Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut with this year’s Get Out. Get Out is a Blumhouse production which lends credence to the film because of Blumhouse’s fantastic track record in horror last year, including Hush, The Purge: Election Year and Ouija: Origin Of Evil. The film follows a young black man, Chris (Kaluuya) visiting his white girlfriend’s (Williams) family estate where he learns that many of its residents, who are black, have gone missing, and he soon learns the horrible truth when another frantic African-American warns him to “get out”. Writer-director Peele referred to the film as “a horror movie, but [with] a satirical premise.” The trailer released in October created immense buzz for the film and has audience members preparing to chuckle aloud while simultaneously feeling petrified.

See The Trailer Below:

4. Split

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Director: M. Night Shyamalan.
Release Date: January 20th, 2017.
Stars: James McAvoy, Anna Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley and Jessica Sula.

There once was a time when the name M. Night Shyamalan actually caused utter excitement to be the initial reaction rather than laughing or eye-rolling. With the modest success of 2015’s The Visit after years of barely subpar pictures, Shyamalan directs the psychological suspense thriller, Split. The film follows the kidnapping of three teenaged girls by a man named Kevin (McAvoy). It is revealed that Kevin exhibits some 23 alternate personalities, and in order to escape, his captives must hope that one of these 23 will set them free, before the 24th personality awakens. McAvoy’s portrayal of each respective personality is receiving rave reviews and Taylor-Joy starred in last year’s The Witch, a horror film many consider one of the absolute best with her role being a crucial aspect to that Robert Eggers film.

See The Trailer Below:


Last But Certainly Not Least, Dramatical Dramas

1. Darkest Hour

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Credit: Focus Features

Director: Joe Wright.
Release Date: November 24th, 2017.
Stars: Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, John Hurt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James.

Following John Lithgow‘s remarkable performance as Winston Churchill in the Netflix original, The Crown, critics are buzzing to see how Gary Oldman handles the portrayal of the British Prime Minister. Darkest Hour follows Winston Churchill as he faces a crucial moment against Adolf Hitler’s army in the beginning of the Second World War. Oldman is known as a film chameleon for his ability to engulf the role he is in so perhaps this is the role that will finally garner him that Academy Award he still has not received yet!

A trailer has not been released yet for the film.

2. Song To Song

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Credit: Broad Green Pictures

Director: Terrence Malick.
Release Date: March 17th, 2017.
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Rooney Mara, Haley Bennett, Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender.

Premiering at South By Southwest on March 10th, Terrence Malick brings together a ridiculously A-list ensemble cast for Song To Song. In this modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples– struggling songwriters Faye (Mara) and BV (Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Portman)– chase success through a rock ‘n roll landscape of seduction and betrayal. One either loves the Malick film immensely or despises it entirely, however with a cast as talented as the one in Song To Song is, it is worth viewing just to see these guys interact with each other!

A trailer has not been released yet for the film.

Source: Washington Post

What Are Some Of Your Highly Anticipated Releases Of 2017 That Aren’t Sequels, Reboots Etc.?


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