Dunkirk (2017) 6.10pm, Sun­day, Sky Cin­ema Greats

RTÉ Guide - - Film Planner -

‘’All we did is sur­vive’’

There are plenty of war movies be­ing screened on Re­mem­brance Sun­day, but few bet­ter than Christo­pher Nolan’s good old­fash­ioned war story shot on good old-fash­ioned cel­lu­loid (and 65mm cel­lu­loid at that). Dunkirk retells the re­mark­able true story of how more than 340,000 be­sieged Al­lied sol­diers were res­cued from the epony­mous French beach dur­ing WWII by a huge otilla of small boats, mostly manned by British civil­ians who had bravely made the short jour­ney from Eng­land’s south coast. With a ne ensem­ble cast, in­clud­ing Tom Hardy, Mark Ry­lance and a trio of Ir­ish ac­tors – Ken­neth Branagh, Barry Keoghan and Cil­lian Mur­phy – Nolan’s tale is re­counted from var­i­ous view­points.

There are de nitely el­e­ments of Les­lie Nor­man’s ex­cel­lent WWII drama, Dunkirk (1958), at work here, plus echoes of the many silent lms ( Greed, Si­lence) Nolan viewed be­fore the shoot to see how ear­lier Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tors han­dled crowd scenes. In­ter­est­ingly, the di­rec­tor was less in­ter­ested in pro­duc­ing an ac­tion-packed war movie than he was in de­liv­er­ing a taut, sus­pense­ful drama that would con­vey the ter­ror of those wait­ing anx­iously on the beaches to be res­cued. That’s why Nolan watched Clu­zot’s The Wages of Fear (1953) be­fore shoot­ing be­gan and that’s also why Dunkirk clocks in at a lean 107 min­utes. Though it’s beau­ti­fully shot and pow­ered by a res­o­nant Hans Zim­mer score, the im­pact of Dunkirk is di­luted at times by the di­rec­tor’s de­ci­sion to cut be­tween sto­ries. That said, Nolan and his team (no­tably the ex­cel­lent Mark Ry­lance) man­age to con­vey the hor­rors of war in gen­eral and, in par­tic­u­lar, the mir­a­cle that was the evac­u­a­tion of Dunkirk. And that’s no small feat.

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