Yes, I realize the cast includes familiar faces like Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy, but bear with me. Instead we see a few hundred, maybe a few thousand men being rescued from a beach. I wanted to like this movie but it never happened for me. Harry Styles was a member of the famous pop band, One Direction, and left the band in 2016. I fall somewhere in the middle, but the shifting aspect ratio has played no part in the disc's video or 4K scores. Then there was the muscle flexing during the beach scene. But again this color enhancement is deftly done, ensuring that no tone feels out of place, no hue becomes too dominant, and nothing ever feels so aggressively dialed up that it loses detail and authenticity.
Instead it had me sitting there wondering when the fantastic movie was going to start. Events begin with the encirclement of hundreds of thousands of British and Allied forces by enemy forces. In that capacity, Churchill, recently chose, has put out a call for non military personnel watercraft to go to Dunkirk both to transport supplies and to transport troopers from the shoreline to the destroyers or back to Britain if at all conceivable. They rush his stretcher onto a hospital ship, but are denied passage themselves. These modest effects are suddenly overwhelmed by thunderous rifle and machine gun fire, as the soldiers in the frame hightail it toward a French-manned barricade. They run to around 1 hour 50 minutes, and are split into four sections — Creation, Land, Air, Sea, Conclusion — each of which has its own group of small featurette sections.
As the director coordinates aerial dogfights, stages perilous sea encounters and choreographs masses of extras on the beach in scenes of increasing desperation, his technical mastery always remains front and center. This is not a soundtrack that I would buy at the store and play on my stereo. More words have been written so far in this review than he speaks. This being a Christopher Nolan film, though, there are upsides. Dunkirk was the Hollywood acting debut of Styles.
What matters is the chaos, and Nolan aspires not just to re-create the chaos but also to subject viewers to an experience replicating the fear and uncertainty of the characters—but not because we are pulled into their world to feel what they do. By contrast to Rylance and his makeshift crew, Cillian Murphy's traumatized survivor is a skeletal outline of a person, who has been inserted into the story to provide conflict. Peculiar is another word to depict it. The one exception to this chilly distance occurs in the seafaring segment, where the Moonstone's voyage effectively individuates several of the characters, notably Mark Rylance's Dawson. This movie is about the fact that the war is not only a confrontation between the two sides, mutual bombardment and shelling.
Zimmer's soundtrack reminds me of the way that Bernard Hermann's work was so vitally important in building suspense in most Hitchcock films. Dialogue is beautifully integrated too — always stunningly clear but also immaculately integrated and contextualized. While there are moments of nuance sprinkled throughout, there just isn't enough character development to have the characters really connect with the viewer too. The truth is, if the same exact movie was made by another director — maybe a new director — the ratings and reviews would be saying something entirely different. This is not just a reconstruction of the real events that occurred during the French campaign of the Second World War. .
The large groups of soldiers on the beach remain distinct and separate even in the longest shots, and the effect of seeing all those individual helmets when the entire beach has to duck and cover against aerial attack is breathtaking. Rope, Birdman , but Victoria does it with pure sleekness and technical aplomb. The sea sequence comes closest to traditional drama, simply because something has to fill the time during the day's length of the voyage. In Dawson's distinctive demeanor—simultaneously mournful, resigned, steadfast and determined—Rylance does what no other performer in Dunkirk manages to pull off, effectively willing into existence a specific and memorable character to which the viewer feels a connection, even if one can't say exactly what it is. Every color and highlight in Dunkirk's frame appears to have been carefully tweaked for maximum impact.
So Victoria is well-worth seeing, but mainly for its craft, rather than its humanity. And between you a sea depths - a cemetery of thousands of soldiers. It is humorous that Tom Hardy looks like Bane through most the film in the role of a pilot wearing an oxygen mask throughout. Throughout the film they remain almost entirely devoid of personal history or characteristics. As the three time periods converge, Dunkirk becomes an intellectual guessing game, challenging you to analyze where each strand will intersect the other and nudging your attention away from the perilous history that the film is working so hard to portray.
I don't think this is a film that will retain even half of its strength in your home theater. After surviving the bloody battle, Hanks's Army captain is charged with an unusual mission, on which he is accompanied by a squad of men whose histories and characters we get to know intimately. Few essentially French warriors are guarding the edge, that zone where the British and French troopers are amassed getting progressively littler and littler as foe powers progress. The bass extension of the music is often lower than the roar of armament or the hum of plane engines, subjecting the viewer to a continuous barrage that is presumably meant to induce a state of fear and anxiety, accentuated by the ticking of a disembodied clock. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.