1.) The one thing that should be immediately apparent is the sound. Other than it is SO FREAKING LOUD, the sound helps make the tension and suspense utterly real. It makes you feel you are there with these soldiers when they are experiencing despair and helplessness in an area that might as well be a minefield. Also, the cinematography (especially in the air battle scenes) makes each sequence effective and practical enough to reinforce the feeling of realism that goes alongside being part of what is happening in the film.
2.) I love how throughout the entire film that the tone is filled with despair and helplessness, and yet some areas of hope. The actors (even Harry Styles of One Direction) play well in their character roles that vary from scared when being attacked by bombers to hopeful when trying to rescue the soldiers in Dunkirk. Another thing that helps the tone is the music, which plays in a somber way that may not be memorable, but it is effective when it comes to the soldiers’ utter helplessness in Dunkirk.
3.) Christopher Nolan creates an interesting narrative by creating three stories from different points-of-views that cover different points-of-time (one is a week in the beach, another is a day in the ocean, and the last is an hour in the air) that eventually converges into one that goes along his style of creating a non-linear narrative. It is well-executed with great pacing and editing that helps remind you that even though these narratives are not in order, they have one thing in common: the goal to get the soldiers home back to Britain.
1.) I can barely hear any of the dialogue over the sound effects and music. I understand that this is a war film and they are meant to be loud, but not to the point that the dialogue becomes hard to hear most of the time. The sound team did a great job with the sound effects, but needs to work on having dialogue rule over the sound…
2.) …It does not really help with the sound ruling over the dialogue, I do not really know any of the characters’ names. In fact, I believe that the characterization is a little weak here. There are a few exceptions, but the characterization is so weak that I am pretty sure I am not going to remember them anytime soon. I will remember the events of the film and what those soldiers went through, but the main characters themselves have little to hold up.
I admittedly do not know much of the Dunkirk evacuation other than it eventually leads up to the Battle of Britain, so I was curious to see a film all about this moment which would be directed by Christopher Nolan of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar fame. He creates a three-way narrative that works very well with this film (not to mention a bit of a history lesson). Nolan creates a tone that is filled with despair for the soldiers stuck at the beach and the ocean, but still hopeful thanks to the voluntary sailors who assisted at getting the soldiers out of Dunkirk and the very few Royal Air Force that are willing to defend them despite small numbers. While it would have been better if the characters are more developed, the events themselves are tense, suspenseful, and inspiring. With great production and post-production value, Christopher Nolan has created another great film about hope despite the bleakest moments in war.
Even though some soldiers may see the evacuation as a humiliation, it was still helpful that they managed to survive at all. They may had lost that battle, but in the end, thanks to their courage and bravery despite overwhelming odds, The Allied Forces (from the USA to Britain) had won the war.