I went to the cinema on Tuesday with a friend. We watched Dunkirk. At the end of the movie, my friend asked me what I think about the movie, and I was pretty undecided. Moreover, I needed more time to process it and get my thought together so that I can make coherent sentences and express it properly.
On the one hand, the positive side, I liked a lot of little things in the movie. The first thing is the director, Christopher Nolan: I read, a few weeks ago, about how he hates CGI and he how would rather pay a lot of money in the making of a scene. For example, in Batman: The dark night, he built a whole building (the hospital) so that the joker can blow it up with real explosives. I like it when people do something in their life like their job, helping people, or just a hobby and go the extra mile in order to make it perfect. They are standing out just because of that, and that’s what I appreciate about those people. When someone does something lazily, and just for the sake of saying he did it or completed a task, I don’t really want to benefit from or waste my time on it. For example, I’m a dancer and when I see someone dancing as well, I can immediately say whether he does some complex steps he just memorized to show off, or whether he put the time and effort into practicing in order to make the most out of the dance. The only difference is you see how one enjoys it and the other is just looking for attention.
The movie was full of bombings, shootings, etc., but it looked so realistic I’m sure some of it was done with CGI, but probably when there was no other choice. This is how I want every director to make a movie- by putting me first. Trying to make it the best way he can so I can enjoy it. There’s no better feeling than the one you feel when someone does something for YOU.
The second thing I liked about Dunkirk is the casting. Great actors! Actors I like seeing other movies just because they look so genuine when they act. If you go to the movie to learn something from the dialogues, don’t go. It’s a waste of time. There are very little dialogues, and they are very poor in term of content. However, I could immediately see what was going on in one’s head by looking at his facial expression. So many genuine feelings that I couldn’t focus on anything else. At one point I took out my phone for 5 second and regretted it thinking that I might have missed something important. I was completely tuned in, feeling everything the characters were feeling. Especially since most of the movie was in a stressful mood. People dying left and write, German planes bombing and killing people by hundreds.
The music producer was fantastic. I love Hans Zimmer. He’s always on point with his soundtracks. You need to feel stressed, happy, sad, mad, no problem! He’s your guy. And he made such an amazing job making me feel worried about what is going to happen. Nolan and Zimmer team up a lot, and every time they do, they have an amazing baby together. The movie started with a few guys walking down a deserted street, 30 seconds in the movie and you hear shots from everywhere, a disturbing and tensed melody and BOOM! You’re in a permanent state of stress for the rest of the movie.
It was the same feeling as having a conversation with someone and being completely in as if nothing else mattered more than what we are talking about. The kind of conversation you have and you don’t even give a shit about your ringing phone or your girlfriend sexting you.
I think the last thing I liked about the movie was that it was like a documentary about history, but didn’t feel like it. I’ve always been repelled by history because my teacher in school was shitty. He would spend the whole lecture listing some facts like I am listing a shopping list to my sister. The worst thing is that no one cared about those facts, and the teacher didn’t care about us as his audience. As a consequence we didn’t care about what he had to say so he was just rambling and we were doing everything not to fall asleep: draw, throw things at the teacher, fight, play on our phones etc. However, in that movie, I was feeling like I was learning something and I was entertained by it. I even wanted to go back home and start reading about it. I liked that feeling of being interested by something I would usually be bored about. It was like a wake-up call letting me know that everything can be entertaining as long as the person sharing the knowledge does his part of the job.
One last thing, I promise! The timeline was messing around with my head. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but the movie was filmed through three different timelines tying everything up at the end so that it all makes sense. I felt like I was watching a Tarantino movie.
On the other hand, the movie was a bit useless. First, it’s also a downside, there were not enough dialogues. It wasn’t personal but actually too vague. I didn’t care about any of those characters dying. For example, there was this guy not talking throughout the whole movie up until the end when someone wanted to kill him and then he said 3 words. I didn’t care about him dying or not seeing him anymore. He was expendable. I didn’t root for anyone in that movie and that’s exactly what I don’t want to see in a movie. I want to be able to relate to people, to the hero, to a guy writing a love letter to his girlfriend or a regular letter to his mom, passing it to his friend and telling him that if he doesn’t make it out alive, than he should make sure those letter would get into the right hands. Moreover, the movie never spent more than one minute on someone without moving to the next character in another scene. It might come back to the previous one, but you never see too much from the eyes of one person. And that’s upsetting because I wanted to project myself in that scene feel sorry for him; feel upset for the injustice. I wanted to be stressed not because of all the scene and the soundtrack but because I would be concerned about what happen to that character because I grew fond of him.
The second thing is that the movie had no hero. You could see some people coming back to the screen like the marine capt. The officer, etc., but never one person who’s THE ONE we would care about the most and however the movie ends, we will have to know what happened to that one person or look up for theories on fans’ websites (e.g. fight club). There was this guy who would be more than anyone else on the screen, but I didn’t really mind at the end of the movie if he survived or not, but rather whether the German won and killed everyone on Dunkirk. It might be the purpose of the movie, but I don’t care about that. I can read it in a book or in Wikipedia so why spend 2 hours in a movie I can just read the summary of what happened there in a few lines and go on with my day?!
The last downside was the timeline. I liked the idea a lot. But it was poorly done. I was confused half of the time, and if my friend weren’t there, I wouldn’t notice that we just saw the same scene from another viewpoint. When the director does something so elaborated, I want him to remind me of it. Tell me, “Look! This is what I did there. Don’t forget about it because it’s gonna be crucial and it’ll all make sense later, but in the meanwhile, keep in mind that this is how I want you to watch the movie.” I wanted the director to give me his own thoughts about how and why he made that movie. I didn’t want to be left out. I wanted to notice the change and have a reminder. The movie was full of information that I couldn’t remember every single details if he wouldn’t remind me of the important things.
The conclusion is, I have no Idea how I should feel about that movie. I might want to watch it again to be sure I dis/like it. But for now, it’s still confusing to me. I want to either like a movie or hate it so that I can add it to my “must re-watch” list or forget about it forever. So many shitty movies nowadays that if I want to enjoy a movie it would either be an amazing movie, or one I already watched.