Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017) Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh; 8 Oscar nominations

blurb: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War 2.

Mark Rylance is a good actor, but seems to have no interest in his role, which has no dynamics. One might defend the film against that sort of accusation by saying that no one character is meant to be prominent, as it's a tableau, a tapestry even, of the variety of war in action. But Kenneth Branagh cannot help but invest his character with some emotional resonance, so it does happen here. I suppose it's a matter of what the director was paying attention to at any given moment.

In that, he had the same problem as the viewer has now: there's so much going in in the separate lines of action (on land, on the sea, in the air) that it's a bit of an effort with each change of focus to get involved in this one instead of that, remember where one was up to previously.

I don't know why Nolan made this. Because he could, I suppose, as you do. But I think - thought - of him as an intellectual, and there's nothing intelligent about this film. But maybe that's the point: that making war is pretty dumb, so let's make a dumb film about it.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 3 February, 2018 | Now: 22 February, 2021