Where do I even begin with this movie? After a pretty intense month of anxiety, the timing of this was probably not great; it is literally an emotional rollercoaster throughout. To give you an idea of my stress level, the last time I felt so anxious watching a movie was when I made the foolish decision to watch Captain Phillips on a hangover and 2 hours sleep…
Negative intro aside, Dunkirk is actually great (just like all the actual proper critics said it would be). For anyone who’s been living under a rock and hasn’t heard of it, Dunkirk tells three different but interwoven stories of British soldiers during the battle and evacuation.
But, it’s different from your average war film. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of shooting and fast-paced air sequences and bombings. What makes it a bit different is how human it is. You get to know the characters a bit better, and it’s much more about their experience than it is about the war or the battle as a whole, addressing issues like shellshock, making the fear very real and displaying the natural camaraderie between men who have been forced into a horrendous situation.
The sheer scale of seeing the movie on an IMAX screen makes it even more real, putting you even more firmly in the shoes of the soldiers, which is probably the main reason it’s so stressful to watch; it’s more of an experience. Combine that with literal bombardment from the sound, and you might as well be on Dunkirk Beach in June 1940.
You’ve noticed I haven’t addressed the elephant in the room; Harry Styles’ role. I was worried this was going to turn into an Ed Sheeran in Game Of Thrones fiasco. Thankfully, Harry Styles has an actual role with a point and he’s actually pretty good in it, considering he’s surrounded by names like Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance.
Ultimately, whilst I’m really glad I saw this, it’s probably not one I’d watch again. I think, because of how experiential Dunkirk has to be to work, watching it in your living room or on a laptop would take away from so much of what makes it a great film.