Finally been to much awaited & much hyped ‘Dunkirik’ yesterday. Here is my first cut impression of this masterpiece –


Earth, water and Sky… three of the five elements that Christopher Nolan uses to spellbound us.. As the gripping storyboard tells us right in the beginning, movie gets unfolded with actions happening on ground by infantry, on the sea by Navy/make-shift civil boatmen and in the thrilling aviation sequence with Spitfire planes by Royal Air Force !!

It will be a gross understatement to say ‘Dunkirk’ is just another war movie. It’s a battle-drama on humongous shooting canvas with complete Nolanization of it. Backdrop is World War 2 and the event(s) take place in and around prolonged shore of Dunkirk, France. In 1940, when German led third reich forces invaded France, they cornered and pushed allies troop to the beaches. Evacuation of almost 300,000 soldiers was absolute necessity, though conditions were adverse and Government was not ready to extend the help beyond reasonable proportions. The movie is based on real time events on how the Allies successfully rescued and transported these stranded battalions to “home” without any colossal damage. The attempts & the journey from horrific death-shadowing Dunkirk to United Kingdom across the British Channel is what forms the plot of this movie.

Dunkirk by Nolan is money straight on the point. It does not glamorizes proceedings like ‘Pearl Harbor’ or creates superheroes like ‘Where Eagles Dare’. It does not talk about carefully launched plans & attacks like ‘Guns of Navarone’ and it certainly doesn’t follow linear pursuits like ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Christopher Nolan is elite passholder of film making and when he writes a script you can be sure of highly unusual treatment. Dunkirk is unarguably Nolan’s one of the best craft behind the camera. Being Writer, Co-Producer and Director, he swamps the audience with visually enriching yet historically accurate cinema. Shot with specialized Imax equipment, Dunkirk is an aesthetic beauty with edge of the seat narration. Much credit to Nolan’s trusted and favorite Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema !

Script moves at brisk pace. Dialogues are kept to minimum. The accompanying background score by Hans Zimmer is in line with prevailing mood and leaves impression on audience mind. Dunkirk is story of unknown faces and unknown authorities. Perhaps that’s why all lead characters in the movie are portrayed by non-popular and newcomer actors. Of course, they have given more than 100% to the role and tale. But the real winner according to me is the grand scale and scrupulous depiction of events from Nolan’s masterly eyes !!

In his archetypal weaving style, Nolan converges all three timelines (Ground – 1 week, Sea – 1 day, Air – 1 Hour) involved in rescue operation. This is the moment we always look forward to in any of his movies… the highpoint…the small contour on the maze that helps to detangle everything. Dunkirk, with its predictive end, still gives us ultimate climax where returning soldiers get glorious welcome in Britain. Victory is not always you conquering opponent land; it’s the moment of triumph when you accomplish the mass-evacuation of strategic importance! Dunkirk underlines and highlights this very profoundly.

I would recommend this splendid movie for Christopher Nolan’s exquisite direction & screenplay. He was walking on razor thin margin. Lackluster storyline would have instantly converted Dunkrik into a boring documentary; on the other hand overdramatizing would have weakened the whole subtlety of the Military mission. He balanced this universe with astounding workmanship.

Go, watch how they returned… Facts are stranger than fiction. True, how true… !!

– Vikrant Deshmukh

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