FlixChatter Review: DUNKIRK (2017)


After three super hero and two sci-fi films, Christopher Nolan is ready to tackle a war genre. Of the current well-known directors working in Hollywood today, Nolan might be the most popular among movie fans. He’s able to secure $150mil for his latest picture and he didn’t need to cast any big named stars to be appear in it.

In the summer of 1940, German forces successfully marched forward with their plan to take over Europe. Many British and French soldiers were forced to leave Dunkirk but help isn’t coming as fast they should. As the film begins, we see young British soldiers being ambushed by unseen enemies, one of them named Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) was able to escape. He ran into some of his fellow soldiers named Gibson (Aneurin Barnard) and Alex (Harry Styles). They want to leave Dunkirk and will do anything to get away and avoid their commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh). We then see a civilian named Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son make their way into Dunkirk to help rescue the soldiers. While in the air, pilots Farrier (Tom Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden) are trying to shoot down the German planes that have been dropping bombs on the soldiers and rescuing boats.

Nolan, who also wrote the film, decided to tell the story in a non-linear way. We saw three perspectives of the event, from land, air and sea. Personally, I thought the way he constructed the story is work of genius. There have been so many WWII films through the years and I’m glad to see Nolan decided to make something that really hasn’t been done before when it comes to this genre. Shooting the film in 65mm, including IMAX cameras, this is a film that needs to be seen on the biggest screen you can find. Nolan mentioned that he wants the audience to experience what those soldiers experienced and I thought he achieved that task. Since it’s based on a real event, I was worried that Nolan might glamorize the battle scenes, thankfully that didn’t happen. The action scenes were not something I would called “entertaining” but the aerial battle sequences were great to see on the big screen.

Performances were great all around. Whitehead, Barnard and Styles were believable as young soldiers and some would call them cowards. They didn’t have a lot of dialogues so their performances were mostly about body language and facial expressions. I’ve never been a soldier or seen any real battles in my life, so I don’t know how I would react if I was in their situation. Rylance, who’s always been great in the films I’ve seen him in, shines again in this one. There’s a scene where he showed raw emotion that I don’t think many actors can achieve. Hardy spent most of the film in the plane and technically he’s the “hero” of the story. Lastly, Branagh’s great as always. He conveyed a man who’s in total control even though he knew he might lose his men in any moment.

This isn’t the kind film where there are character developments and there’s no plot to speak of. Nolan wants the audience to experience the horror that happened during this event and to me he succeeded. Just like his previous film Interstellar, this one it’s being shown on various formats. Nolan’s preferred formats are 70mm IMAX or regular 70mm. If there’s a 70mm IMAX theater near where you live then I highly recommend you see it there.



So have you seen DUNKIRK? Well, what did you think?

20 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: DUNKIRK (2017)

  1. I thought I was going to wait a little longer to see this but some fortunate events allowed me the chance to try and see it this weekend though at my nearest multiplex which doesn’t have an IMAX nor a screening in 70mm which I would love to see. It’s just I’d rather save money and see it closer rather than drive 20 minutes downtown to see it in 70mm. Plus, I’ve managed to experience a 70mm screening with The Hateful Eight which I’ve managed to cross off in my bucket list.

  2. Great review Ted! I’m really hoping to be able to see this soon in IMAX. I’m not a fan of war movies generally but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen by Nolan and I feel like this won’t disappoint!

  3. Dadof4

    Great review, Ted!
    It really was a terrific film – well constructed and well told. I thought it was an interesting choice to not show the gore highlighted in similar war stories. It wasn’t there and and was not missed. If anything, I think kept the impact of the story on the soldiers and not the brutality of the battle.

    1. Thank you! I was a bit worried too that Nolan decided to make a PG-13 war film. But I thought the film didn’t need the graphic violence once I saw it. Since it’s really about the survival of these soldiers and not about battles in the field, the gore was not necessary.

  4. Even though I wanted to see the movie in IMAX, I didn’t have one anywhere near me but still, really enjoyed the experience. Me and my mom watched it on Tuesday and we are still have hard-core discussions about the story, direction and what not. Chris Nolan is simply brilliant!

      1. I had my doubts too – heck, every war film between Saving Private Ryan and now has pretty much been a bloodbath – and was pleasantly surprised at just how it wasn’t required. Will we now see a return to less gory fimmaking to depict war? I doubt it, but at least it’s a start!

  5. Hey Ted, I finally just saw it at the zoo IMAX and you’re right it’s a spectacular film, one of my fave Nolan films to date. I actually like it a lot more than Interstellar and I’m not a big war film fan. Glad I saw it at the zoo IMAX too, totally immersive experience from start to finish and seeing it on Saturday afternoon wasn’t as busy as it would’ve been. I’d give it a 5/5 star too!

    1. Glad you enjoy it too! I plan to see it again next weekend, it’s my tradition that I see Nolan films at least twice at a theater. And yes the IMAX theater tends to be less crowded during the afternoon showings. But now that they let us reserve seats, I don’t mind going there at night. No need to stand in line and try to find the best seats anymore.

  6. Pingback: FlixChatter Review – MIDWAY (2019) – FlixChatter Film Blog

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