Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Fionn Whitehead – Tommy
Kenneth Branagh – Commander Bolton
Tom Glynn-Carney – Peter
James D’Arcy – Colonel Winnant
Jack Lowden – Collins
Barry Keoghan – George Mills
Tom Hardy – Farrier
Harry Styles – Alex
Aneurin Barnard – Gibson
Cillian Murphy – Shivering Soldier
Dunkirk is ‘one of those’. It’s a good little feature, but is slightly tedious in parts. It does its job entertainment wise and dishes up a heck of a lot of fast-paced action, at certain points some of the camerawork being quite breathtaking. With shots from the skies above and undersea below, this movie makes great use of its scenery. It’s pretty full-on and makes the most of its character situations; men at war on the ground, saviours aboard boats in the ocean dragging soldiers to safety, pilots soaring through the skies firing at the enemy.. this movie is fit for any battle / action fan. It’s engaging stuff.
But in a way, this was also a bad thing..
Dunkirk is one of the biggest ‘jumpers’ I’ve seen. As in – scene – characters – scenario – action. The movie quite literally hops to Tommy.
Then to Farrier.
Back to Tommy.
Over to Commander Bolton.
The focus is then on the rescue boat.
Then it’s on Farrier in the sky.
..the constantly shifting scenes became almost nauseating whilst the camera bounced from one man to the other every half-minute, as though the director was purposely trying to add to an atmosphere of total carnage. Down in the audience however, I was having a job trying to keep up with who was involved in what and where their story was going. Dunkirk wasn’t just an action-packed movie focused on the event of war itself, it was almost like a director’s notebook – pages splattered with all sorts of scribbles and ink splashes. It was messy. And if this movie’s producers had taken full control of its direction I honestly think it could have been superb. Unfortunately, they seemed to let it meander into an army abyss where anyone who’s anyone had run of the movie set.
This movie’s poor theatrical navigation made it hard to warm to – or engage fully with – each character and his dilemma. Just when you’re about to applaud the bravery of Farrier (Hardy) the Shivering Soldier (Murphy) appears on screen, shivering and soaking wet (poor thing). And then Shivering Soldier is forgotten as Tommy gets involved in a dangerous situation of his own..
..and then you’re back to Farrier briefly, before Shivering Soldier (Murphy) pops up and the entire focus has shifted to a more nautical atmosphere.
It’s a headache. And in fact Dunkirk is like a war-time Love Actually; an array of distinctive characters each getting his or her minute in the spotlight – before the spotlight moves on. The problem is this spotlight seems to have malfunctioned and flickers from one to the next, seconds apart. Not good.
Of course, one of Dunkirk’s talking points – Mr. Harry Styles. The British singer makes his acting debut as Alex, a private in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. I wasn’t sure what sort of a job he’d do in a movie – it can go one way or the other with some singers. I just assumed he’d give a fleeting performance without making much of an impact.
Styles was fantastic. The young chap must have had some acting training in the past, because his on-screen presence was completely authentic. Albeit minimal dialogue, he delivered his lines as effectively as any other one of his fellow actors and was a complete natural. I must admit when I first discovered Styles was part of the cast of Dunkirk I thought, “for fuck sake. Another overly enthusiastic former member of a boyband trying to break into the movies – because he has the power to”… and yet he displayed nothing but a faultless flair for acting. Perhaps this was another trophy for his achievement shelf, but I have to (hate to) admit – he earned it. Great work.
Message to Harry Styles: keep the short hairdo. It looks superb.
I had also heard before seeing this that Styles had taken the scissors to his trademark locks. And by god it worked, his quiffy styled hair transforming him from shabby emo pop star to total hunk. I don’t know what the girls have seen in that stringy-haired almost skeletal man he’s been in One Direction; Styles is fuller in the face and gorgeously coiffured in Dunkirk – he looks bloody stunning, much more tidier, dashing.
I (now) would.
I think Dunkirk missed the mark, sadly. It seems like one of those productions which radiates an epic vibe; it feels like the most recent Oscar-winning blockbuster but it just – isn’t. Back in the days of 1997 when Titanic was released, everyone knew what they were in for.. and it worked. Titanic smashed its way into Hollywood with an (almost) unforgettable diamond that was loved – and hated – by millions of people for years. Dunkirk felt like that sort of thing, only without the thing!
I think what this movie does excel at is introducing new faces in film and having them take the front line, leaving the likes of Branagh and D’Arcy nicely behind them with minimal parts. It gives the viewer some fresh faces, with familiar faces as support.