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Film Review: Dunkirk


Film Review: Dunkirk

Erin Gear

Arguably the most anticipated film of the year has hit cinemas, and has been received by critics with five star ratings globally. Directed by world renowned filmmaker Christopher Nolan, whose previous cinematic masterpieces include The Dark Knight (2008) and Inception (2010), Dunkirk is the movie to beat this year.

The story of Dunkirk is brushed over in the retelling of World War Two’s history, as it is in all respects, a military disaster for the British. However, Nolan’s film tells the incredible tale of real human experiences, fears and desperation for survival in Dunkirk. Amazingly, Nolan filmed this feature with as few special effects as possible, using real Spitfire fighter jets and real naval destroyers along the Dunkirk beach. 

This is an intimate and immersive piece of cinema about courage, fear and survival. It is difficult to categorise Dunkirk as a ‘war film’ because it encompasses so much more than the field of battle. Nolan has spectacularly delivered a realistically heartfelt and raw true story in Dunkirk, where 400,000 men were trapped as easy-pickings for the German enemy.

  Image via

Image via

However, this film is by no means for the lighthearted. From the opening to the final scene, Dunkirk is a tense and stressful watching experience, which is executed with such attention to detail you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a documentary. Pacemakers should be worn for those with a heart condition, because Dunkirk will rip your heart of your chest - in the best way possible, of course!

What’s most interesting about this film is that none of the characters are given a substantial backstory, which enables you as the audience to project your own fears into the story. This is also what helps stimulate such a climatic atmosphere throughout the whole film.

The casting director should receive some kid of award, because the cast in Dunkirk is stellar. Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy, Jack Lowden and Fionn Whitehead make up the main cast, and every single one deserves a standing ovation for their performance. 

I can’t not address the elephant in the room at this point; Harry Styles. Before you roll your eyes or lay on the hate, Styles genuinely carries his own in this film and was deserving of the role - his acting skills surprised even me (a diehard Harry Styles fan). Reserve judgement until you experience it for yourself, that’s all I recommend. Just like Will Smith, who transitioned incredibly well from music to acting, it is foreseeable that Harry Styles will have a successful future as an actor based on his performance in Dunkirk. If you weren’t a fan of his before, you will be after seeing Dunkirk. 

Dunkirk also puts into the spotlight twenty year old break out star from London, Fionn Whitehead. Whitehead landed the lead role of Tommy in Dunkirk, and I have no doubt that he will be a household name in years to come. He was captivating to watch, and should be congratulated on such a successful start to his acting career.

I urge you to see what all the fuss is about. This is an unforgettable film by Nolan embedded with his ingenious creativity, which will be sure to leave you speechless. I’m calling it early, but it would not surprise me if Dunkirk is showered with awards during this year’s awards season. Hands down, movie of the year!

Watch the trailer below:

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