Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Release Date: December 19, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
“Dunkirk” opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in. The story unfolds on land, sea and air. RAF Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenseless men below. Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save even a fraction of their army.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, the powerful tale of ‘Dunkirk’ opens with a group of British and Allied troops effectively surround by enemy forces, with home nearly in view across the horizon, there still lies the challenge of finding a way back there before being decimated by the enemy. Equally following the course of select soldiers on land, sea and in the sky, the film tells the moving story of hundreds of soldiers who when unable to find a way home amidst the chaos of war was fortunate enough to have home attempt to come for them; if only they can hold the enemy long enough to allow for their arrival.
Written and directed by the incredibly talented Christopher Nolan (Inception, the Dark Knight trilogy), he does a truly fantastic job at the helm of ‘Dunkirk’ guiding this tense and moving true tale along with passion and care. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the incredibly talented folks that comprise the cast which features a combination of some fairly well known and many far less familiar individuals including Fionn Whitehead (TV’s Him), Aneurin Barnard (Citadel), Lee Armstrong (TV’s Midsomer Murders), Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Tom Glynn-Carney (TV’s The Last Post), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Tom Hardy (Inception), Jack Lowden (Denial) and more, nearly all delivering noteworthy performances that never falter in each of their respective roles.
‘Dunkirk’ is simply phenomenal. A true masterpiece of filmmaking that maintains a constant sense of unease, while still brimming with heart, courage and breathtaking beauty not merely in the tale itself, but also in the exquisite detail engulfing it. It’s a powerful and moving story based upon true events that is quite unlike the majority of war themed films we are generally accustomed to. Embracing the constant, quite tension and unease on all fronts and executing the powerful story with grace and passion, while keeping things surprisingly tame in regard to the blood and more graphic war imagery often seen in similar films. The result of which is something truly unique and marvelous that is not only one of the very best films of the year, but also one of the finest efforts yet from the talented Christopher Nolan who has yet to deliver a film that I didn’t wholeheartedly love. Another notable aspect of ‘Dunkirk’ is in its careful attention to detail, with every possible tidbit fitting flawlessly within the time period; from the gauges on the aircraft, to the details of the boat, uniforms and weaponry, it’s all crafted with careful care that never goes unnoticed. It’s expertly guided around each powerful turn by Nolan and his careful guidance is only further boosted by a magnificent cast that includes numerous relatively unknown individuals (along with a few bigger stars) who nearly all deliver noteworthy performances. I wholeheartedly urge folks everywhere to give ‘Dunkirk’ a watch whenever possible, it’s a magnificent and powerful film from an incredibly talented director that anyone who appreciates quality filmmaking or a perfectly crafted war film won’t want to even consider missing out on.
Overall, ‘Dunkirk’ is a truly magnificent film that tells the true story with style, passion and an acute attention to detail that forms into a war film that dares to be something unique. Maintaining a constant sense of calm tension and providing plenty of action packed moments, yet without the plethora of gruesome images that so often accompany in similar films. It’s also tremendously complimented by consistently gorgeous detail and surroundings, along with a fantastic and perfectly selected cast that truly seals the deal. It’s easily one of the very best films of the year and also one of Christopher Nolan’s most impressive offerings to date. ‘Dunkirk’ easily earns my highest possible recommendation and I would strongly encourage everyone to at least give it a whirl. It’s a magnificent film in every possible way and should have no trouble proving itself more than worth your time and the cost of a rental if nothing else. This is one film that is simply not to be missed.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dunkirk’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a variable Aspect Ratio that alters between a 2.20:1 Aspect Ratio and a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio for the IMAX sequences. The video presentation looks outstanding as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation from start to finish, with no noticeable faults to be uncovered throughout. It holds up remarkably even during the fast moving and darkly lit sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Warner Bros Home Entertainment that should easily satisfy the hardcore Nolan fans and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds phenomenal and provides a crisp, clean and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all five available channels in order to send barrages of gunfire, nature elements, crowd chatter and plenty more constantly zipping throughout the various speakers, and never allowing any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements to become distorted, let alone rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a hard hitting and fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the film perfectly and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dunkirk’ includes a noteworthy collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that take viewers deeper into the painstaking process of bringing the true story to life; the entirety of which can be found on a second Blu-ray disc solely dedicated to the supplemental content. The included Featurettes are ‘Creation’ (running approximately 22 minutes in length), ‘Land’ (running approximately 17 minutes), ‘Air’ (approximately 18 minutes), ‘Sea’ (37 minutes) and ‘Conclusion’ (15 minutes) each of which also offers sections within for better navigation. A ‘Coast Guard Promo’ (approximately 2 minutes) is also included.