Film Review – Dunkirk (2017)

Nick Kush

A current college student, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016. As a film critic, he offers content that is meant to entertain as well as educate. He fell in love with film after first seeing Forrest Gump and has been hooked ever since.

49 Responses

  1. S C says:

    Come on, Dunkirk is not flat in any way. It is a riveting watch. Why is it that there should be character development to the extent that we feel emotionally attached to them and not have movies that focus on the many rather than the few. We have seen enough character development in movies like Saving Private Ryan. This one is a masterpiece for its unique storytelling and one that focuses on the event solely. This is an absolute delight. It surely deserves an A+ and also an Oscar.

    • Nick Kush says:

      Sorry, can’t agree with you there. Having a movie that focuses on the event rather than individual characters is certainly plausible way to construct a film, but then when you ask me to care about those same characters in scenes of peril when you’re making it so obvious that the individual does not matter than what’s the point?

  2. Paul Bright says:

    I agree with your review. I just saw the movie this afternoon in the local theater. I didn’t feel I learned anything, and I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters – even the ones I assumed I would connect with.

    Actually take away the music/underscoring and this movie would be tedious.

    • Nick Kush says:

      Fascinating, I actually found the music to be pretty great. What little emotion I felt came from the score as it made me feel anxious and somewhat on the edge of my seat.

  3. mramgemini6 says:

    I love war films. Your review makes me want to see this for myself. LOL Harry Styles (no, seriously).

  4. Thanks for liking my review of this movie. I wish I could devote more time to movie watching.

    • Nick Kush says:

      It be fun to hear your thoughts!

      • I started to think about what Nolan could’ve done to make the character’s resonate better to you. I can see how this movie missed some of the emotional elements of a character. The story really wasn’t conducive to digging deep into the inner parts of the soldiers. You don’t really have talking head in a war movie unless it is a love story. He might have put maybe in a little bit more such as snippets of a character’s backstory. I think of when they were hiding in the ship and before it was shot by the Germans. I need to re-read your review again. I’m sure I will have more to say after this. I’m currently in the process of rewriting my first novel. What a long process. Anyway, hope you have a good weekend. Cheers.

      • Nick Kush says:

        It means a lot that you’ve kept my thoughts in mind over the weeks! I’d love to read your novel once you’re finished!

      • Of course! I’m a thinker with not enough time! My first novel is a love story. I will definitely share it once I’m done. I just want to finish it once and for all so I can start my stinking trilogy. I keep telling myself writing will be the death of me, but in a good way. I plan to hibernate this weekend and write.

      • Nick Kush says:

        Good for you!

  5. Great review! I see what you are saying about how we don’t get up close and personal with any of the dozen or so characters that populate the movie (except for the Mark Rylance character, a bit). However that didn’t prevent me from having an emotional reaction. I reacted to the simple fact that these characters were under threat from a force they never really see. The Germans are never shown onscreen; they are rain down destruction from far away. In this sense, each of the characters stood for all of the men (and women!) who were present at Dunkirk. For example we never get to know anything about the character played by Fionn Whitehead, but his obvious terror and confusion affected me because he stood for all the young soldiers who were fighting for their lives at Dunkirk. And in the heroism of the Tom Hardy character we see the moral center of how the British remember WWII, i.e. that the British will never stop fighting until the enemy is defeated.

    I really enjoyed reading your review and look forward to reading more of your stuff!

    • Nick Kush says:

      Totally see that viewpoint! I think a lot of people reacted that way. It’s just too bad that I couldn’t muster the same feeling, I really wanted to love this movie.

  6. Anne Clare says:

    I completely agree with your ‘likes’. The look of the film was fantastic. The dogfight scenes were the best I’ve seen on the big screen.
    I can also see merit in your ‘dislikes.’ I didn’t like the way he set up his chronology. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it confusing, and I think that that format was one big culprit for some scenes lacking in emotional ‘punch’- you’d already seen the ship sinking, so it wasn’t a surprise etc.
    Personally, I didn’t have a problem connecting with the characters- BUT I’ve also been really nerding out over this era, and spent a long time on this particular period as well, so maybe that was partially me applying background knowledge to the whole thing. I liked that he kept it just a ‘slice of history’ rather than trying to force a love interest in or anything like that, so the lack of emotional drama was appealing to me- could see how it wouldn’t be to others.
    Thanks for your review!

    • Nick Kush says:

      Man it’s so refreshing to have a nice conversation with someone who has different opinions lol! I see where your coming from, but I just think Dunkirk’s structure was just cold from the start. At the same time, I can’t see the film having that same realism if it focused on one or two characters. Ohh well…

      • Anne Clare says:

        🙂 Hey, you make solid points. It’s kind of a case of realism vs. an enthralling story. Since I like the history, I liked the realism angle (I’m the sort of person who is still irritable because Harry Potter’s eyes weren’t green in the movies. Seriously, people?! ) It is too bad he couldn’t have swung both a bit better.

      • Nick Kush says:

        Too true!

  7. nikkorita says:

    Good review. Most points I agree with except for the one about flat characters. I agree that when I left the cinema I was initially disappointed, but I think that’s partly because I’m not used to seeing a movie without an emotional connection to the characters.

    I disagree with this point “Nolan sets up moments where caring about the characters is necessary for the tension of the scene to work. Because a cold, unfeeling tone had already been established, these moments fall horribly flat.”, because during those moments I still felt for the characters. Just because there’s a lack of personalized dialogue or the usual conventional story telling, I still related to the character’s fear… like for example, in the opening, Fionn Whitehead’s character took a couple of those propaganda sheets (the one saying we surround you) only to plan to use it later when he wanted to do a number 2. Or when the same character was about to do his business, but saw another soldier burying a dead one and decided to help. I think these are the little moments that add to the overall characterisation of the soldiers as a whole, a story of the masses. We don’t really connect with any one character, but the whole lot of them (those fighting for SURVIVAL albeit on land, sea of air). So going back to my initial argument, I think the theme of survival is what ultimately connects the audience with the characters (despite it not being a deep or personalized one), but nonetheless still make the moments tense.

    But those are my 2 cents. Once again, good review with clear reasoning.

  8. raistlin0903 says:

    I have actually avoided reading this review before I saw it, but I already gave it a like, because I always enjoy all your reviews. This one certainly wasn’t an exception. I completely agree with everything you wrote. I was really disappointed by this film. I had been looking forward to it for like forever, but the film really felt like a letdown. While technically brilliant, it is exactly as yiu say, it is a seriously cold movie..really cold. If Nolan would have payed more attention to the character development, this could have been a masterpiece. A real shame 😔

    • Nick Kush says:

      Glad to know someone agrees with me lol! When you criticize a movie that has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes you tend to feel pretty lonely lol

      • raistlin0903 says:

        Haha, I had the same feeling when I posted my own review yesterday. It really feels like we are the only ones who think of this movie like we do, but I can say the friend I was with felt the sane way. She also said it was a truly brilliant technical movie, but it lacked a heart. So, we are not the only ones lol 😂

      • Nick Kush says:

        Yay! Who knows, maybe we’re the smart ones lol!

  9. Pratip says:

    Hi… A Very good review and I would like to re-iterate which I did to every others… It ain’t a War film. Just because the movie has setup during the time of War it doesn’t make it to the Category of a War film. It is instead a film of Survival IMHO.

  10. ppj says:

    I’m still processing the movie, and I have a lot of thoughts about it as well as impressions.
    But I have to be honest and say that I didn’t think of it being distant and having emotional distance. I may change my mind later though once I sort my inpressions.
    I see where you’re coming from, but I guess if I haven’t thought about the fact that we/you don’t care about the characters, I guess it doesn’t bother me. What I liked about this movie is that there’s hardly any dialogue in the movie. Instead of words the visual will have to tell the story, make us care for the characters.
    It’s a harsh grade though, but you gave me something to think about.

    • Nick Kush says:

      I hear you there! I’m a massive Nolan fan so being a little let down by this film may have had a negative effect on my grade. I might appreciate this film more and more as time goes on, but I’ll probably never love it like his others films because of that emotinal distance that I personally felt.

      Having said that, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I understand that I’m in the minority on this film so if you liked those elements of the film then good for you! If I’ve given you something to think about in my reviews, then I’ve done my job!

      • ppj says:

        I too am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan. I agree that Dunkirk is more emotional distanced than his other films, but as mentioned before I guess I’m not as bothered with it. Being a completely different movie, I think your disappointment is the one I had regarding The Dark Knight Rises.
        Having said that, I like that he didn’t keep this film too long as some of his other films are.
        I’ll keep an eye out for your future reviews.

      • Nick Kush says:

        Totally agree! I was shocked to see that it was under two hours. Thanks so much!

  11. I completely agree with you. There isn’t much to make us care about the characters in the film. I only remember Tom Hardy because he’s an actor I like watching perform. If it had been anyone else, I might not have remembered the character.

    • Nick Kush says:

      I think there’s something to appreciate about making a movie about the event rather than the characters, but at the same time the film then tried to make me care about them after blatantly going out of its way to tell me now to care lol. I might appreciate this movie more with time, but only from a technical perspective

  12. Dylan Langes says:

    Did you see this in IMAX or 70mm or both? I am trying to work out which screening to go to.

    • Nick Kush says:

      I saw in 70mm which was pretty glorious. I would think that IMAX might be even better since it’ll envelope you in the world even more.

      • Dylan Langes says:

        I have the option to go 70mm and IMAX but might not get great seats. But I can get great seats for either 70mm or IMAX so thought I’d get some expert opinions

      • Nick Kush says:

        It probably comes down to personal preference, but I would choose good seats over anything!

  13. Been reading many opinions similar to yours. Definitely see where your coming from but I absolutely loved it. Good stuff.

    • Nick Kush says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I wanted to love it so bad considering I’m a huge Nolan fan. Sadly, I just couldn’t get there with this one.

      It’s nice to have different opinions from someone and remained civilized lol. Thanks for your thoughts!

  14. csheldonblog says:

    Did you play spot the boy from the boy band

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