Wednesday, August 30, 2017

3 Thoughts on Dunkirk

1. That sound - I'm at a loss for words when it comes to describing the immense sound that blared through the theater. It was unrelenting, emotional, stressful, anxiety-inducing, haunting, and brilliantly experimental (and I still don't feel like I'm describing it well enough!). I've never heard anything like it. And I'll never forget it. I'm so glad that I experienced watching this film in IMAX, even though I scoffed at all of the critics and movie fans who insisted that *this* is the only way to see this film. It's true though. I think it will still be a fantastic film on a normal television screen, or however you choose to watch films. But, you will miss an essential part of the experience if you don't watch it in IMAX. The sound, combined with some pretty stunning visuals, allows the audience to immerse themselves into the chaos of war like no other film has before.

2. That scene - I remained fairly unemotional throughout the film, which I think was due to the sheer anxiety that I was experiencing. However, Nolan is masterful at creating emotion without explicitly pandering to the audience. It happened with one single shot - the shot with the little civilian rescue boats coming into view. It's just perfect. I had to control myself from bursting into tears. I feel like with the current state of the world (particularly America), I needed the reminder that there are people who are inherently good, altruistic and heroic.

3. That story - I really, really, really did not want to see this movie. I feel this way with most modern war movies - it seems impossible to tell the same story in a new way. Yet, I'm constantly gobsmacked by how extraordinary some of these stories are. Last year, we had Hacksaw Ridge that told a beautiful story about one heroic man. This year, Dunkirk told the story of hundreds of thousands of men, and yet it didn't tell any "one" particular story. We had several characters to focus on, but we know NOTHING about them. And this makes this a uniquely told war movie. It always bothers me when a movie tells the story of a hero, as a newly married man or a new father, as if we are supposed to care about someone more because they have family. Shouldn't we just care about everyone because they are human? This movie makes me care about everyone without giving me any information about them, and that is GENIUS. It's also genius to focus more on survival than the actual war because fighting to survive is a heroic act. I loved the way the stories are inter-cut, and have different timelines. It makes it interesting; forces the audience to figure out how and when they connect. Overall, this film has received mostly positive reviews (and is personally my pick so far for best film of the year - surpassing Baby Driver, I didn't think it was possible), but some of the critiques that I've read are downright baffling. People confused at the timeline ( attention?), people complaining that the characters are indistinguishable (I had no trouble at all - although, I have no idea which one is the guy from One Direction. All of them were terrific actors. So, kudos One Direction guy.), and the worst take, people complaining about another male-centered story (I'm not even going to dignify that one, but if you are a feminist complaining about such trivial nonsense, then YOU are part of the problem).

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