Dunkirk reviews

Sabin
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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:39 am

ME ONE MONTH AGO: I'm not interested in seeing Dunkirk. It looks like Christopher Nolan has come full circle and now is entirely devoted to spectacle.
ME EARLIER TODAY: I can't wait to see Dunkirk. It looks like Christopher Nolan is back to doing what he does best.
ME NOW: I was right fifteen days ago.

I'm a bit baffled by the hosannahs bestowed upon Christopher Nolan's latest. It's not like they bent over backwards to forgive every misgiving in Inception, Interstellar, or The Dark Knight Rises, three films I liked to varying degrees (by which I mean, I liked one, hated one, and fell somewhere in between on the other one). So why is this film being hailed as a masterpiece? It stands in contrast to those three for one reason: it's as understuffed as they are overstuffed. Dunkirk is a very simple film told with a narrative twist that lends it to describers like "cerebral." Me, I found the choice to be superficial and the only way it says anything w/r/t how time is a relative construct in war is through the mouths of critic cheerleaders. I'm reading reviews that liken it to Eisenstein, but my take on Dunkirk was "This is barely a movie." I wasn't moved, I wasn't shook, I didn't feel anything aside from some moments of sheer panic deriving from my lifetime's worth of inexplicable drowning nightmares. I left the theater with a handful of gorgeous images in my mind.

Critics are hailing this as the first masterpiece of the year. I think it's an experiment without a ton to say about war. If ever there was a movie to describe without really dive into, it's Dunkirk. This might be a very boring Oscars.

Additional note #1: for the life of me, I couldn't understand what was being said. Interstellar had an awful sound mix but I chalked that up to a poor artistic choice on his part.

Additional note #2: remember the crosscutting in Inception that engulfed the final third of the film and how "conceptually" thrilling it was? Imagine that for an entire film. I remember when he was genuinely thrilling. Maybe Sonic Youth doesn't.

Additional note #3: wasn't part of the 70mm club. Did anyone here see it on 70mm and like it?
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:49 pm

Given the genuinely exceptional reviews, I had hoped that this would be the kind of war film that surmounted my usual issues with the genre to become something I found truly impressive (the way both Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line did nearly two decades ago now). And though I didn't find myself disliking Dunkirk, I definitely come in under consensus on this one.

The most praiseworthy elements of the movie are in the technical departments, and it's here where Christopher Nolan flexes his considerable talent as a film craftsman to create a picture that is beautifully shot, often grippingly cut, and almost frightening to hear. (Although there were a few times when I didn't hear some dialogue over the score and sound effects, this wasn't a major issue for me throughout.) This is a project of obvious ambition and scope, and I think much of the "masterpiece" declarations have to do with the genuine skill it took to mount it all, putting the viewer right in the middle of the action, and depicting the horrors of war with such brutality and empathy. (I didn't have the reaction dws did to the IMAX 70mm, though I should add that mine was at a normal theater, with a screen that didn't curve, so it likely didn't present the same issues -- I was more perturbed I paid $28.50 for a ticket plus $3 for parking for the whole experience.)

But in my book, a masterpiece -- or even just a really good movie -- has to have more content than Dunkirk does. As plenty of you know from my posts in the Screenplay polls, movies that mostly amount to 100 minutes of fighting don't really get my motor running all that much, and though I was engaged in Dunkirk throughout, it didn't really pass the "what is the point of me watching this?" test. The plot is pretty thin, the characters are basically cyphers (I even had trouble telling a few of the young guys apart from each other), and I didn't feel like I was left with anything more thematically fresh than I've seen in countless WWII movies over the years.

Oddly, the most original element of the narrative was actually something that didn't work for me at all, and that's the three timelines that progress at different rates. I thought this just created confusion in the plot; while there were times it was obvious a scene I was watching had come before a portion of the story in a different thread, there were a number of times where I just wasn't sure if I was watching something I'd seen in another thread from a new angle, or if I was viewing something new entirely. And, perhaps because of this issue, I didn't find much of value in the Tom Hardy airplane section at all -- most of his "story" felt completely repetitive any time we popped back to him. (And can someone explain what was happening in that intercutting airplane sequence near the movie's end? I was completely confused about what I was watching in both threads at that moment).

All in all, I found the film the work of a clearly talented director collaborating with his crew at a high level of artistry, but working with material I didn't find as remarkable as many critics obviously have.
Last edited by The Original BJ on Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby dws1982 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:33 pm

Big, big, big thumbs down for the IMAX 70mm presentation.

It may be the theatre I was at, because it's a space science museum, and the screen is really like a quarter sphere designed for 45-minute shows that take you through the galaxies. But I had to tilt my head back the entire time, the screen overwhelmed my field of vision to the point that it was impossible to take in the information in the frame.

I think I liked it, but how can I know until I see it again?

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:38 am

Dunkirk is the fourth general release film I have seen at the cinema this week, which is a rather strange experience these days as I seem to be averaging only 1 to 2 a week in recent times (that is not counting Festival showings).

I enjoyed the film overall and was relieved that Nolan restrained himself from an overblown bombastic running time. His previous two films Interstellar & The Black Knight Rises were simply insufferable and their running times didn't help things one bit.

Technically the film is impeccable and I found no issues with the sound muffling out what little dialogue there is. Speaking of use of sound nothing I have seen so far this year user sound better than Agnieszka Holland in Spoor (a film like Dunkirk that should be seen in a cinema). Performances across the board are good given that none of the characters are really fleshed out. If the film gains any Oscar nominations for acting it will be Mark Rylance.

Jack Lowden as Rylance's son is clearly Christopher Nolan's alter-ego. He looks so much like Nolan.

I didn't care for the different timelines but it's a minor quibble. Also, I never felt a sense of 350,000 thousand men on the beach. Actually, to be honest Joe Wright (a director I have little time for bar Atonement) accomplished far more of a feel for time and place with his brief view of Dunkirk than Nolan does in the entire film. Whilst this is far from 'the masterpiece' people are claiming, its a good and satisfying film and in some ways a companion piece to Lone Scherfig's Their Finest, which touched on Dunkirk from the homefront.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Sabin » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:55 pm

My friend, a film critic from the A/V Club, has seen the film and he says it's very good but Nolan needs to rethink his sound design. He says it's very difficult to understand what certain characters are saying.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby dws1982 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:53 am

Posts on reddit and elsewhere from those who've been to advance screenings indicate that this movie is very loud. Apparently some of the sound effects scenes (combat, etc.) go on for several minutes on end. The effect is apparently amplified in the IMAX shows. Many users have recommended that people who are sensitive to loud noises bring earplugs...you'll apparently still be able to hear the combat scenes, no trouble.

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:34 pm

"Christopher Nolan" - (Oh, Christ...)

"A masterpiece" - (You mean, like his others?)

"Score by Hans Zimmer" - (Stop! Please!)

"106 minutes" - (Actually, this film sounds promising.)
"What the hell?"
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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:44 pm

Okri wrote: Please let him be Argo'd out.... That would be hilarious.

I thought of that myself -- especially when the Nolan claque at AwardsWatch started declaring the Oscar race "over".

The funniest/mean thing I saw over there was someone saying "For Nolan fanboys, this is as close as they'll get to sex".

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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Okri » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:29 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Nolan's nomination, coming up. (Not because he's the Internet's Giant, but because rave reviews for a film on a serious subject.)

http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/du ... 202495701/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... ew-1021600

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/dunk ... tentID=592


Please let him be Argo'd out.... That would be hilarious.

Sabin
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Re: Dunkirk reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:43 pm

Dammit. Fine, I'll take it seriously.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Dunkirk reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:10 pm

Nolan's nomination, coming up. (Not because he's the Internet's Giant, but because rave reviews for a film on a serious subject.)

http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/du ... 202495701/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... ew-1021600

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/dunk ... tentID=592


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