I had the curtains drawn, the lights off, and the sound as loud as I could get away with. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to make Dunkirk the spectacle it clearly should have been.
I am disappointed, which is a first me and a Nolan film. But I’m aware that sound is massively important to this film, and that it seemed very much made for the big screen. My recognition of that means I can’t ultimately be too hard on Dunkirk.
There is one thing I will commend though. And that’s how Dunkirk made me think of this.
If you’re of a certain generation you’ll know the music and you’ll know the feeling. Dunkirk is the cinematic equivalent of Sonic nearly drowning. That intensity is one of the film’s main strengths, with Zimmers’s score driving home the point that time is running out.
The other is Nolan’s insistence on practical effects. Using real planes and people, on the real beaches, adds a level of realism and intensity that CGI just couldn’t bring to the table. CGI could do it, but there’s something special about knowing it is real.
Nolan leans on some old friends, with Harry Styles the most notable new addition. He’s alright too! There isn’t much dialogue, with the film relying on sound and image to push things forward. It’s a bold choice, but whilst I can appreciate him leveraging his clout to do something different, I found the actual content of the film lacking unfortunately. There wasn’t a sense of scale to just how big a deal Dunkirk was. There’s a chance I’ve just missed the point, alongside the big screen, but this film doesn’t hit the heights I’d expect, even if I appreciate it’s more technical merits.
Oh, and Tom Hardy wears something over his mouth again.