“How could a movie called Dunkirk, in this day and age, draw so many people to movie theaters across the country? It’s something of a miracle, a giant middle finger to all the claims that there’s no place for big risks on the big screen anymore.
“This is a work of pure cinema, speaking the same language as the cut from flame to desert in Lawrence of Arabia or bone to spaceship in 2001. It’s also remarkably specific. It captures something that feels uniquely British — the exchanges near the end of the film for example, as the weary soldiers return, bottling up a tremendous reserve of feeling within just a few words. There’s a real poetry in their stoicism; for all the bombs and shrieks of gunfire, this is a quiet film.
“In that combination of scope and subtlety, the enormous canvas and the tiny, telling detail, Dunkirk feels closer to the best work of David Lean than any recent movie I can recall.” — Damien Chazelle writing about Dunkirk for Variety.
From “The Colossus of Nolan,” posted on 7.18.17: “Last night I saw a 70mm IMAX version of Christopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk. Staggering, breathtaking, HANDS DOWN BRILLIANT — not just a Best Picture contender for 2017 (obviously) and not just Nolan’s best (ditto) but easily among the greatest war films ever made in this or the 20th Century.
“Saving Private Ryan, step aside. The Longest Day, sorry. Full Metal Jacket, down half a peg. Gabriel’s trumpet is blaring from the heavens — this is a major, MAJOR 21st Century achievement.
“Dunkirk is not just exceptional cinema but majestically its own thing in an arty, stand-alone, mad-paintbrush sort of way — emotional but immediate and breathtaking, but at the same time standing back a bit by eschewing the usual narrative and emotional engagement strategies that 100 other war films have used in the past (and will probably use again and again in the future).
“Thank you, Chris, for not explaining who each character is or giving me their back story or supplying them with an emotional speech or two. Thank you for just plunking me down on that huge Dunkirk beach of 75 years ago and letting me fend for myself, for putting me right in the middle of 400,000 young British troops trying to get the hell out of there before the Germans come and rip them to shreds with bombs and hot lead.
“Dunkirk is way above the usual-usual. It will tower, stand astride, fly, soar, float, bob and IMAX the shit out of you. A Colossus of Rhodes awaits at your nearest IMAX theatre. Just don’t see it on a regular-sized screen…please. Go as big and loud as you can. Beg, borrow, wait in line…whatever it takes.”