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Dorset. Dover. Dartmouth. DUNKIRK.


“We can practically see home from here”.
“Seeing home doesn’t help us get there, Colonel.”

Christopher Nolan’s war epic ‘Dunkirk’ tells the story of a somewhat same situation. In the May-June of 1940, when the Gargantuan Nations have started battling against each other, 400,000 soldiers of the Allied Forces find themselves cornered in the Dunkirk beach of France. They can see home but it has become impossible for them to go back.

‘Dunkirk’ tells the story from three different perspectives- land (The Mole) for a week, the sea for a day and air for an hour in a nonlinear narrative. The history of human evolution has always been marked by wars and epic battles for territorial superiority. While most ‘War movies show the mainstream facet of the war, Nolan wanted to tell the story of the other side- the one about survival. There are very few conversations in the movie, let alone be any catchy dialogues but the fear could be seen on every soldier’s face- the fear of dying on an alien beach, surrounded by the enemy while the home is so near.
From the first sequence till the last, the background score kept intensifying and keeps the viewers literally at the edge of their seat. Hans Zimmer, the guy who has pulled strings for some of Nolan’s other works has surpassed his own works in a manner of speaking. And a movie with such impeccable music is only to get better.
The cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has done some astounding work. The battle of aircraft to the landing of it against the backdrop of the sunset while having Churchill’s famous speech, it all takes your breath away.
Actors Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy were all impressive and since the movie didn’t devote to any singular protagonist, it’s only fair that all of them should be praised. Harry Styles surprised for being so much of an actor in his debut film and deserves all the applauds his way.

In a far-fetched conviction, one is to assume that Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk draws an inspiration from ‘The Guns of Navarone’ or the popular ‘Saving Private Ryan’. But it is not. It is not the story of rescuing one man or a group of people. Here cometh the major question- why isn’t there a protagonist? Where is a proper story? Who is the actual hero? For those who seek answer- In a war, each and everyone who gives his blood and sweat is a hero. And for the cinephiles- Not every movie needs a generic spread out story with a singled out ‘hero’. Dunkirk is one such movie. Even being an out and out fan of Christopher Nolan and having watched his movies countless times from an early age, I had always considered him a filmmaker for a certain section of people. While movies like ‘Inception’ and ‘Interstellar’ do rattle one’s mind every time he/she watches it, it isn’t for every kind of audience. ‘Dunkirk’ is one such movie where every layman could understand the perils of those 400,000 soldiers, sitting in a dark theater with every breath he/she draws and clearly marks his way as an auteur of our generation.
For people harping about Nolan’s marketing strategy, I have only one thing to say- a filmmaker venturing out to create Independent films while tasting commercial success is a rare achievement and inspires the upcoming generation of filmmakers.

About the author

Arijit Paul

A self-professed Satyajit Ray fan, Arijit is one of those rare cinephiles who has an unconventional notion of Films. An admirer of auteurs like Kurosawa, Bergman and Scorsese alike, Arijit hopes that one day he will be able to bring a new wave in Indian cinema. Apart from films, he finds life in literature, music and traveling. His blogs are likely to be the most unprejudiced view on whatever topic he decides to write on.

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