Christopher Nolan's tenth feature is, without a doubt one of his most ambitious films to date. As he puts a spotlight on a very impractical and important event that goes unnoticed by a lot of us "The Evacuation of Dunkirk". If you say Dunkirk is your typical war movie, it is like saying Interstellar was very easy to understand . I went to the premier of Dunkirk with Mt. Everest jitna expectations so at the end of the film I too felt "utni bhi khaas nahi thi". So I went home and opened internet to see that internet is having orgasms over Dunkirk and IMDB rated it 9, I wondered for a second there, did I really watch the movie Dunkirk. So I did my research for around a week on that subject and went to the movies again after 10 days to watch Dunkirk. So here's what I've realised, Nolan's war epic is the furthest thing from typical. He explores themes and methods of storytelling that very few other film-makers have even dipped their toes into, the whole movie has a clock ticking sound if you haven't noticed. He understood that each and every person will interpret the events differently, so he built it in such a way that it will reach every single audience member. But, unfortunately as it happens every time, nobody understood it.
Nolan here is trying to tell the story in such a distinct way and he uses technical form to explore the themes in this film , if you're here to find a love story in the midst of all the themes then Dunkirk isn't for you. Nolan made a very smart and well thought out decision when he decided to shed light on all of the brave soldiers and the unsung heroes that came from England to evacuate Dunkirk. "No one character is given special treatment" and from the opening of this movie till the credits, Nolan grips the audience. The score is a big help in making this possible along with the cinematography. There are some scenes that are truly incredible and breathtaking. The score composed by my favourite Hans Zimmer, where he keeps your hearts pounding and keeps you on the edge of your seats through the entire film. This isn't surprising at all as Zimmer had done the same with Interstellar, Inception and many other films . I could feel the fear in every soldier. I could see the little glimpse of hope crumble each time the soldiers looked up at another bomber.
Dunkirk with various fires and floating bodies really showed the audience just how terrible times work for the army. It was very cinematic but in the worst way possible because everything in this movie happened for real. The climax of the film is scored perfectly, as we get the full effect of the drama, there is this very uplifting moment, where there are general cries and every soldier, who three minutes ago was sure to die but instead alive cheering, knowing there's hope. For all those, who are wondering why they showed bombing of the ship from three different angles, Nolan tried to show how the bombing of the ship effected the three time-lines individually.
Dunkirk is all about the shared experience, which is why Nolan chose the route to take three perspectives and interweave them through out the entire movie. He does this to show that each and every act of courage or bravery, no matter the stakes, are equally important .Tom Hardy's character Farrier and his constant sacrifices are no more important than soldiers on the ground and the repeated attempts by Mr Dawson to evacuate soldiers and the rest English citizens coming to help is no less heroic than the other events in the story. Even George, who sacrificed his life to come on the daring mission was acknowledged. Each of the three plots being the mole, the sea and the air are wrapped up in the closing minutes . So let's break it down here about what happened at the end of all three timelines:
The mole, which is a week long in real time is concluded With Alex and Tommy arriving back home and boarding the train. Alex assumes that the people back home will look down on the soldiers who were evacuated, but this is all gone when we see them handing out beers and fruits to soldiers and cheering them. The ending note is the distinct difference between the actual war narrative to the one the soldiers perceived . Nolan shows how retreat can indeed be victorious .
The sea, which is a day long was put to an end, when Murphy killing George was dismissed by the crew and he leaves without knowing the truth about George, who he accidently killed. This explores the theme of sacrifice in a way. As for the sacrifices of Mr Dawson's son, he gets the satisfaction and revenge by lying and releasing a potential burden on the already traumatized soldier Murphy. Murphy had PTSD throughout the sea storyline and we see how quickly he achieved this when we saw him pop up in the mole as a normal proper speaking British soldier. PTSD wasn't really acknowledged at that time in the world so it was big on Nolan to inject this into the plot.
The Air only an hour long when put in real time, the air ending is what brings all of the storylines into fruition. Farrier lands after saving many evacuating soldiers from an air attack and bluntly sets his plane on fire which is a very cold classic Nolan shot. He knows that his only fate is to surrender. He has been taken away by the Germans, as we hear Tommy reacting to Churchill's famous “we will fight them on the beaches” speech, this is a reminder that although a very successful evacuation took place, the war is still in its early stages. The fate of each soldier and country is still uncertain. Farrier is going to be a prisoner of war. Like I said,
this epic movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan is all about the shared experience and how we all see things differently.
PS :: Nolan uses his ridiculously precise and monumental directorial vision to bring this very unique way of story telling to life. This is why he will stay as one of the best to ever sit in the director's chair.
February 14, 2018