Reading a review of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is just about the biggest mistake you could make before you watch the film. I wish I went into the cinema cold, not having seen a trailer or read a word about the movie. Knowing Dunkirk is a Nolan joint should be enough. So basically, if you haven’t seen this film, I’d recommend stopping here.
Dunkirk could very well be Christopher Nolan’s best film – and I know that is a hyperbolic statement but I think time will show it to be true. It feels like every film Nolan has previously made was leading to this moment. It’s his most personal film, yet it feels as epic as Interstellar or Inception. It’s his most violent film, even though it is largely bloodless. The villains of this film get very little screen time, yet they feel as menacing as Ledger’s Joker.
This film’s structure is perhaps Christopher Nolan’s biggest accomplishment, and it’s as ingenious as what he did in Memento, The Prestige and Inception. It can be confusing to work out what is going on and when, but once it clicks, you realise that you are eating out of the palms of one of the greatest directors of all time.
Dunkirk is extraordinary in almost every way imaginable. I sat in the cinema and I kept thinking about how young the actors on screen were (all of whom are great, by the way) – it was almost off putting. And then I realised that the soldiers involved were probably the same age as Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead and Jack Lowden – that is both a harrowing and humbling realisation.
Where does Nolan go from here? I feel like there is one obvious direction – the James Bond franchise. But, frankly, I’ll watch damn near anything he puts out. He has earned my trust.