In a world bloated with billion dollar effects laden franchises, with built in fan bases, Nolan has managed to prove that mainstream cinema can still accept old timely original films.
I certainly think what sets Christopher Nolan apart other than his compelling ideas is his humble, old fashioned love of filmmaking.
It takes a certain love of art to simply walk away, after revolutionising the superhero genre (for better or worse). And what we’ve seen since The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is nothing short of a treat.
Dunkirk, delivers a 106-min unpretentious masterpiece. Nolan’s passion for realism really was on display here. The movie uses over 50 boats at sea, more than any other film in history. He also reportedly used cardboard cut outs alongside the 1000 extras to give the film the impression of a large evacuation. And then there’s the bombers. Never before have I experienced such realism dogfights. Cameras were placed on the actual wings and cockpits of spitfire planes. And the dogfight scenes really do steal the show for me. Do not expect dazzling whirls and fantastic mid-air explosions. Do expect suspense, tension and fear. Like living through a WWII colourised documentary.
Hans Zimmer shines once more with his exceptionally tense soundtrack. Focusing on a ticking pocket watch, that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of a chaotic disaster.
Boasting an impressive cast with the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Cilian Murphy and a surprisingly good Harry Styles, Nolan takes a commendable risk of focusing on the event rather than the characters. The film is a story about an event, and uses the event to sell itself. Impressive in the age of celebrity brand imaging. Yet, this fantastic cast never goes to waste (I mean is there anyone better at stealing the show with half his face covered than Tom Hardy). Every character feels real, every decision feels believable. If you’re after a Stalon-esqe Rambo, or a character driven Platoon style drama, you’re not in luck. The event is the star. The event is also the antagonist. The plot is that simple. Yet that capturing. And I think that’s exceptional story-telling.