There is a moment late in “Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan’s ferociously vivid account of the evacuation of over 300,000 cornered British soldiers from France during World War II, when a man accepts that he is going to die.
He’s a naval commander named Bolton and since he’s played by Kenneth Branagh, every word he speaks carries a calm dignity that would have made Alan Rickman crack a sly smile. Yet as a German plane swoops overhead, the formidable Bolton realizes that these are his last moments and closes his eyes, surrendering to his fate.
It’s odd that one of the most memorable parts of a film about stratospheric triumph (it has been speculated that if the evacuation had failed, the war would have tilted in Hitler’s favor) is a moment of defeat.
Then again, Nolan (who also wrote the film) has never been one to let expectations ruffle his impeccable blonde coiffure. He is, after all, the filmmaker who made sweet narrative music out of a backwards murder mystery in “Memento” and bizarrely and beautifully turned a bookcase into a cosmic conduit between an estranged father and daughter in “Interstellar.”
“Dunkirk” (which uses composite characters) shares some time-bending DNA with Nolan’s previous films (more on that later), although it’s certainly an earthier affair. Superheroes may fascinate Nolan (note his three dates with the Dark Knight), but the daredevilry in “Dunkirk” isn’t like anything from the average comic book. Here, there are no skyscrapers to leap off of—there’s just soldiers struggling to survive, whether they’re trying to escape a torrent of saltwater pouring through bullet holes in a boat, or swimming to safety after a torpedo strike.
“Dunkirk” is also, like all of Nolan’s films, great fun (along with “Gravity” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” it’s one of the zestiest suspense thrillers of the decade). → continue…
From:: Taste Of Cinema