Review: Dunkirk

The man who gave audiences Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige and Interstellar returns to take audiences back in time to a small, but not insignificant chapter in the history of World War II.

Nazi Germany has enveloped 400,000 French and British soldiers to the beaches of Dunkirk and the possibility of escape is practically perilous in every direction. Pinned to just one location, the enemy takes their time picking off their forces and destroying whatever hope of escape in their wake. Land, sea and air, the Allied Forces are in a bind, and the British government at the order of Prime Minister Churchill has little alternative but to requisition and commandeer civilian water craft to travel across the channel and bring their boys home.

Christopher Nolan’s take on these accounts is segmented into three perspectives on this account of history. The Mole follows a young French and British soldier navigating the beaches trying to find someway back home; The Sea features a father and son and a friend in their sea vessel crossing the channel upon hearing the order to rescue as many men as they can; The Air follows two fighter pilots soaring through the skies above the madness, shooting down German fighter planes bent on sinking anything that floats. These three perspectives all tie together to illustrate the power of the human instinct of survival. These three perspectives are the crux of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

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Image by Warner Bros. and Syncopy

Nolan told this story in three parts; I will describe this movie in three words: elegant, explosive and unyielding.

Going into this movie, I was concerned that Nolan’s take on this war story would be too clean and that might hinder its appeal as a war movie when compared to a classic war dramas such as Saving Private Ryan, The Hurt Locker or last year’s Oscar winning Hacksaw Ridge because those movies truly captured the essences of war; the gore, the graphic imagery, the bloodshed, the need to illustrate that war is hell upon seeing it unfold all around the characters for the audiences to witness themselves. Dunkirk was my boom or bust movie of the year and after seeing it, in IMAX which is the way it was intended to be seen, this movie went BOOM! A loud, resonating BOOM upon the senses that did not let up in the slightest!

My concerns going into this movie? Decimated as I watched it unfold before my eyes! Just because Nolan didn’t go excessive on bloodshed, doesn’t mean he hindered this movie; you don’t need blood or grandiose practical effects to illustrate the horrors of war! Every time a bullet fired, I jumped. Every time I saw a bomb go off or a missile or a torpedo down a ship, I was jolted. Every time a dogfight happened in the sky, I held my breath! Every time the situation became more and more dire in these three arcs, the tension just kept building and building and the suspense was as remorseless like the wind and rain in a hurricane! Nolan just brought his strengths as a filmmaker and storyteller to depict a “back against the wall” situation where individuals had to use whatever resources they could to see tomorrow and the need for bodily harm or horror was not necessary in the slightest to accomplish that.

What’s more impressive about Dunkirk is that the enemy’s presence is felt rather than seen. From the first frame, audiences see the little fliers floating from the sky onto the soldiers saying “We surround you!” you don’t see the enemy, but the presence of danger is felt every second and the tension of this film feeds off that tension for strength.

Nolan intended for Dunkirk to be seen as a story of survival and he wrote and executed this core aspect of the picture with extraordinary distinction! The focus of Dunkirk was never about winning, it was about bringing these soldiers home from extreme danger and knowing that in surviving, they were victorious! I had my doubts whether or not he could pull this off but with this powerful script, impeccable execution, the stunning cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema, the awesome music of Hans Zimmer giving this picture atmosphere where dialogue is scarce, the sound effects, Lee Smith’s editing which came together beautifully as the film went on, Nathan Crowley’s production design, Dunkirk is an outstanding achievement in filmmaking and should become the crown jewel in Christopher Nolan’s body of work so far.

This movie isn’t so much about the actors but what the actors do in the film, in these roles. The collection of Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles all do a solid job with the parts they have been given, but the true star of the show is the suspense and the tension that fills up the screen when all of the technical aspects behind the camera come together.

Dunkirk is elegant is how it is shown and heard on screen but the subject matter is brimming with explosive technical execution, resulting in an unyielding cinematic experience that should not be missed! It is the most phenomenal experience I have had this year at the movies!

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My 2017 Oscars Predictions! Part Three!

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Image by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

You’ve waited, you’ve wondered and the time has come for the most exciting part of this three-part installment predicting who will go home big winners on Hollywood’s Biggest Night! The Big 6; the four acting categories, the best director category and the highest honor of all, Best Picture. It’s time to put a bow on my predictions for the 89th Annual Academy Awards!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Viola Davis, Fences

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Image by By Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

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Image by By Gordon Correll (Mahershala Ali),via Wikimedia Commons

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Natalie Portman, Jackie

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Image By Benjamin Ellis, via Wikimedia Commons

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

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Image By Виктория666Линк06 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Best Director:

  • Denis Villenueve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

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Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez

Best Picture:

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I predict that the Oscar will go to:

And that, as they say in the business, is a wrap!

For Part One of my 2017 Oscar Predictions!

For Part Two of my 2017 Oscar Predictions!

For the full list of nominees!

For the results, tune into ABC on Sunday February 26, 2017 at 7:00 PM. Comedic star Jimmy Kimmel will preside over the 89th Annual Academy Awards and I for one cannot wait to see who brings home Oscar gold! I’ll be where I usually am covering the Oscars; which is right here on my blog! Stay tuned!

My 2017 Oscars Predictions! Part Two!

oscar-guy

Image by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

With another week in February past us, it’s time to move forward with the second installment of my Oscar predictions! In this segment, I focus on more of the technical categories leading up to what I like to call the Big 6, which will be the focus of my final installment. Buckle up and here we go!

Best Original Song:

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”-La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling”-Trolls
  • “City of Stars”-La La Land
  • “The Empty Chair”-Jim
  • “How Far I’ll Go”-Moana

I predict that the Oscar will go to: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”-La La Land

Best Score:

  • Micachu, Jackie
  • Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
  • Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, Lion
  • Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
  • Thomas Newman, Passengers

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

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Image by Michael Buckner/Getty Images North America

Best Editing:

  • Joe Walker, Arrival
  • John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water
  • Tom Cross, La La Land
  • Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon, Moonlight

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Tom Cross, La La Land

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Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America

Best Cinematography:

  • Bradford Young, Arrival
  • Linus Sandgren, La La Land
  • Greg Fraser, Lion
  • James Laxton, Moonlight
  • Rodrigo Prieto, Silence

I predict that the Oscar will go to: James Laxton, Moonlight

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Image by François Reumont pour l’AFC

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

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Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Eric Heisserer, Arrival
  • August Wilson, Fences
  • Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
  • Luke Davies, Lion
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

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Image by IndieWire

For the full list of nominees, click here!

For Part One of my Oscar predictions, click here!

For Part Three of my Oscar predictions, come back here next week!