I watched Christoper Nolan’s Dunkirk the other day. It was a movie that I never would have wanted to watch if it weren’t for Y suggesting it. War movies have never been my thing. Too much machismo, too much violence, too many guns, and too much brawn. That being said, I thought Dunkirk was a brilliant movie and the best movie I had watched that year. My only qualm with the movie is that it felt like an hour and forty-seven minute long panic attack but Nolan is a genius for it.
IMAX is loud but Dunkirk is louder
I know what you’re thinking. No, I did not expect the movie to be quiet but I didn’t expect the movie to be as loud as it was. In one of the Reddit threads I was browsing through, a commenter remarked that he could physically feel the sound move through him. I agree with that wholeheartedly. The sound was overwhelming. Almost every single time a gun went off, even if it was obvious that it was coming, I jumped in my seat. It came to a point where I held my hands to my ears for the majority of the movie. At times when I withdrew them, I was completely enveloped in sound. It was a bit much for me and usually I grit my teeth to bear with gun scenes in other movies I see in the theaters.
Hans Zimmer creates constant tension
This is actually one of the biggest things I both love and hate about Dunkirk. The soundtrack is endless. It’s a constant ticking of a clock and constant chugging that perpetually heightens up to a climax until it doesn’t. The music never climaxes. You’re keep in a constant state of anticipation, just waiting for something to happen and even if something does happen, it’s not satisfying and the music keeps trekking on towards the next thing. This is the best thing about this movie. While watching it, the viewer is thrown into the mindset of the soldier. There’s a persistent feeling of impending doom that follows the characters around.
You gain knowledge at the same time of the characters
Although there are multiple timelines in the movie, the knowledge of what happens in each timeline does not give you an advantage over the characters (for the most part). You are limited to what the characters experience and you never really know what could happen next. Their fate is always up in the air which just adds to the suspense.
But I loved it
Basically, I was glued to the edge of my seat the entire time. I was kept in a constant state of anxiety. Although a lot say the movie lacked characterization, that didn’t stop me from worrying about the characters and their fate. In a situation like Dunkirk, you just want as many people to make it. The ending scene where the civilians show up in their boats to take the soldiers home is a testament to that. These civilians didn’t need to know each and every soldier coming onto their boat to care for them. I think that’s the most beautiful thing about Dunkirk: love for your fellow countrymen.