You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Dunkirk’ tag.

EDIT: Here’s a recorded version with blurbs for each of the movies and some of the extra shit I usually say when I do one of these:

Hopefully I never have to do that again, because:

Fucking WordPress ate the four hours of work I put into this. I’m disgusted because there’s no fucking reason why hitting “publish” should publish a post but with no text in it, which is exactly what happened. Maybe I should switch platforms. So anyway, here’s a way truncated version:

15. Wonder Woman
14. Baby Driver
13. War for the Planet of the Apes
12. Dunkirk
11. Thor: Ragnarok
10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9. John Wick: Chapter 2
8. A Ghost Story
7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
6. GotG Vol 2
5. It
4. Blade Runner 2049
3. Get Out
2. Mother!
1. Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri

Honorable Mentions:

Super Dark Times
Creep 2
The Big Sick
I, Tonya
The Lego Batman Movie
The Little Hours
Ingrid Goes West
Marjorie Prime
Gerald’s Game
Wind River
Brigsby Bear
T2: Trainspotting
The Lost City of Z
Free Fire
Logan Lucky
Kong: Skull Island
The Bad Batch
Spiderman: Homecoming
The Girl with All the Gifts
The Florida Project
The Void
Dave Made a Maze

Movies I Didn’t See:

Phantom Thread
The Post
The Beguiled
The Shape of Water
Molly’s Game
Murder on the Orient Express
Darkest Hour
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
All the Money in the World
Call me by Your Name
The Foreigner
Song to Song
Good Time
Battle of the Sexes
Happy Death Day
The Hero
Roman J Israel, Esq.
Personal Shopper
Loving Vincent
The Square





This looks like just another war scene, but it’s threaded with horror. That’s this movie in a nutshell.

I was pretty conflicted about Interstellar and I’m kind of conflicted about Christopher Nolan in general. I, to an extent, agree with most of the criticisms that dog his work. But I also think Inception is one of the best movies ever made, with his Batman movies being some of the most overrated. To say I had low expectations for Dunkirk would be disingenuous because I had no expectations for Dunkirk. Good or bad. I was curious because it was a wartime event that hadn’t been covered in a huge movie, at least as a focus piece (Atonement has Dunkirk-related scenes). I was also curious to see what Nolan would do with a war movie, since he’s been doing high concept genre stuff for almost his whole career. On some level, I suspected that Dunkirk was about the safest move Nolan could have made after Interstellar failed to light the world on fire. I was wrong about this being a safe movie, but my lack of expectation was rewarded by one of the most pleasant and arresting surprises I’ve had in a theater for a super long time.

“Pleasant” is not really a word that you’d associate with this movie except maybe in the way I just did, where I’m really talking more about the feeling of surprise. Dunkirk is not so much aggressive as it is relentless and that energy, an almost constant rising action toward a very rewarding climax, is mostly steeped in the emotional resonance of horror even as it is delivered with familiar tropes of the war genre (duty, courage, banding together, grandiose and personal heroism, and so on). So while this is definitely a war movie, it’s also the second best horror movie of 2017. It is intense and it’ll make you squirm in your seat. A lot. All this while being one of the least violent, but loudest, war movies since Saving Private Ryan changed the game. What helps is Nolan’s mostly unsentimental point of view. This movie is not full of the customary jingoism and sentimentality of the American war film (these elements are present sparingly, and are mostly earned), but nor is it political in the sense of having a clear message about “war” except perhaps that it is something you survive rather than win.

There have been criticisms that there’s no story or characters here, but I think it’s interesting that Nolan stripped down his usual reliance on plot, exposition, and high concepts. He has the most trouble with plot and theme across his work, and these things are less important in Dunkirk than is the craft of telling a story through moving pictures.  There’s very little dialogue, so character comes across subtly through facial expressions and the few important choices that are available to each person. Dunkirk has a small, intimate cast, and approaches the historical events with a clever and almost seamless editing conceit of showing events at different points as if they are happening all at the same time… until they are. Dunkirk is a tremendous movie, and one that deserves to be seen at the best theater you have access to.



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