A war film that is not a war movie. Ever since I watched Saving Private Ryan, I wondered will there ever be a war film that would come close to the genius of Spielberg.
Dunkirk is the answer.
The ingredients here are all compelling – WWII, Nolan back after three long years, his first war film and a non-linear screenplay at that.
Spielberg has already mastered the concept of that daunting fear of getting cornered by the enemy without having its real glimpse in Jaws. Nolan reciprocates this and oh so how! You don’t see the Germans once on screen, but as a viewer, you still feel you’re going to get hit any moment now.
With the blistering, haunting and never ending a streak of bullets being fired from right across the fence and bombs getting dropped left right and centre, Nolan makes you believe that you’re in the film. It is you who is running away from all this mess. It is you who can see a torpedo cremate a massive warship in no time. It is you who can practically see it. Home!
The mood changes as the film progress
Valor gets transitioned to grief and strength turns itself to disbelief in no time. The hustle of getting back home before the soldier next in your platoon becomes the only viable purpose, hence, justifying greed. And then out of nowhere, compassion takes over – taking you completely by surprise.
One hell of a roller coaster where you want to be in that fighter pilot’s seat and still fear that you will run out of fuel and get submerged in an ocean that is but death staring right at you from beneath.
The opening sequence and the background score might keep you awake for many nights. Not to draw any comparisons but this seems to be a tribute to the beach of Normandy scene from Saving Private Ryan. The build up is eerie and showcases what a genius Nolan is. Dunkirk is not a dialogue film, but there are moments when you experience silent screams. Some deaths that make you feel that lump in your throat.
You will be able to ride on an emotional roller coaster.
The victory for Nolan here is not that he made a great war film – that he did. But the fact that he makes you believe that you’re one of the soldiers. Something you wanted Nolan to deliver.
There is history being created right across the street in a cinema hall next to you. This is the film that makes you want to be a part of it. This is the movie that comes once in decades. This is the film that just might fetch Nolan his first statue.
Be a part of history by witnessing the spectacle that is Dunkirk.