The story of Dunkirk is a famous one but one that many have not heard of before or know too much about. I am one that doesn’t know much about the history of the war, partially because I didn’t focus in history class when I was in school. However, directors depictions of war are something I am always interested in and how they portray such a historical moment in our time.
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk concentrates on three different stories, all set within the plot of Dunkirk. Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. The film tracks the stories of three people who are then connected; Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his two sons, Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and George (Barry Keoghan) who are controlling one of the civilian boats heading towards Dunkirk, Farrier (Tom Hardy), a Spitfire pilot whose destroying enemy planes and Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who becomes friends with French soldier, Gibson (Aneurin Bernard) and Alex (Harry Styles) who are on the mission to survive the war.
One man who made the whole film suspenseful and gripping throughout was Hans Zimmer. Having worked with Christopher Nolan before, he created a timeless soundtrack, using the auditory illusion called the ‘Shepard Tone’, a 3 layered tone with an octave apart. This creates the suspenseful effect that makes us cripple in our seats when shots are fired. This is what made the film for me, without it, the film would have not had the same effect. Hans Zimmer, you are a genius. He did it with Batman, Interstellar and Sherlock Holmes, you’d think he may have overused the technique by now but he is still managing to pull off greatness.
When it came to the actors to play the parts, they had a wide range of experienced stars from Tom Hardy to Kenneth Branagh. One of the most unlikely castings for when the film was being made was Harry Styles who plays Alex, a young soldier who befriends Tommy in an effort to survive the war. Surprisingly, Styles manages to pull it off. His debut as such to the big screen from being the pop star we all know was a good one. I was doubting what the One Direction front man would be like in this new environment but with the on-screen time that he had, it felt authentic and true. Putting aside what we all know the young lad for, he could be the next pop star turned actor, maybe dipping his hands into a few more baskets in the future.
Overall, Dunkirk lives up to the hype. The build-up to this film was exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only criticism I would have is that, at times, I did struggle to connect the timings together and how they all connected but I guess that may just be me. The story of each of the characters involved is so interesting and makes you want to learn more about the war and what happened at Dunkirk. Maybe I should have listened more in history class.