We went to see the movie Dunkirk this afternoon. It is a first rate show that we both enjoyed watching. It opened last month, but this was our first opportunity to see it, since the Eastern UP no longer sports a movie theater. Video killed the record store. It was certainly worth the wait, plus we had the Esquire’s main theater practically to ourselves. It was like our own private screening.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the picture has a surreal quality. Partly, this is due to Nolan’s choice to shoot the movie using 70mm film. The choice of this HD film format in the digital era, gives the picture a novel rich, lush and detailed look. Add to this the film’s sparse dialog and Hans Zimmer’s techno soundtrack and you have a movie that wordlessly lures you in and then envelops you, using both sight and sound.
The three threads of the story, land, sea and air are woven together to show the interaction and interdependence of the three services. The aerial sequences are arresting and look authentic. Tom Hardy as a Spitfire pilot continues his recent cinematic trend of performing with a mask covering his rather handsome mug.
The movie is a tribute to the British soldiers and civilians who participated in the Dunkirk evacuation. For a retreat, it was successful beyond all expectations. It was a miracle and allowed England to stay in the war, which eventually led to the Nazi defeat. Interestingly, the enemy is almost never seen. The Luftwaffe is all too present, but its plane’s pilots are not revealed. On the sea, a lone torpedo is the only sign of the enemy. In Dunkirk and on the beaches, enemy bullets fly, but from unseen muzzles. The Germans are never mentioned.
Only at the end, after Hardy has landed his plane on the beaches of France, after running out of gas and then fired the aircraft with a flare does the enemy arrive. Even then they are still faceless silhouettes. Minimal attention is spent on them, so not to detract from the British heroes who participated in this endeavor.