I’ve seen Dunkirk twice, the first time I couldn’t look away, the second time I was constantly waiting for every gunshot, explosion and surprise. The constant, unrelenting tenseness of this film is stunning and I left the cinema both times feeling as if I’d just ran a race, the adrenaline coursing through me throughout made it an exhausting experience.
Christopher Nolan has been one of my favourite directors for years. The Batman films are superb works and Inception will forever be one of my favourite films out there. So I can appreciate the effort that Nolan puts into making his films as perfect as he can, in Dunkirk that shows. From every uniform worn by the troops awaiting rescue to the sound of a Spitfires Merlin engine (one of my favourite noises ever).
Talking about the purr of Merlin engines, the sound design is phenomenal. The crack of rifle fire sounds as if, and probably was, recorded right next to the Enfield rifles going off. The sound of dive bombers swooping in instills true fear. And the bang of high explosive impacting the sea honestly shook me in my seat.
The score composed by Hans Zimmerman is this constant rising beat, that builds and builds and builds but never comes to anything, making you tense up and dig your nails into your palms. It’s perfectly explained in this YouTube video by Vox:
The cast must also be praised for fantastic performances all round. Tom Hardy (beautiful, beautiful Tom Hardy) plays a Spitfire pilot up in air for an hour who, even though you barely see his face, his performance drags you into his little world in the cockpit of his fighter. Kenneth Branagh plays the part of the stoic admiral attempting to organise the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces and the French army. Also if anyone could point out who the hell Harry Styles is playing that would be great, because apparently he’s in it.
This is a film that has to be seen, both times I saw it the cinema was packed, its a true masterpiece in cinematography. Go see it!