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One Movie Punch

Dec 2, 2018

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to the podcast. This will be the first of two episodes today as we’re working to get caught up from the fire. I’ll be continuing my story from the wildfire evacuation in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP.

Last segment, we had noticed the air quality was tanking outside, so we finished our brief lunch date and errands, then returned home to wait even more. Another television binge ensued, continuing when our daughter returned home. School was definitely back on, we had learned, and neither of them was really looking forward to it, especially because two days later, they would be on Thanksgiving break. We were watching television, but I was also watching both of them, the two most important people in my life, thankful that we could feel as bored as we did that evening. Another sign things were getting back to normal, despite the packed bags everywhere. We made a list this time, of things to pack in case of another evacuation, and I can’t recommend enough that everyone else should do the same. We’re heading for some turbulent times, so being prepared is important. I knew if I had the two of them, and the things packed in those bags, we would be okay.

More on the story from the fire tomorrow.

Today’s movie is “Dunkirk” (2017), the Oscar winning drama written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film follows an ensemble cast of characters during the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk. The film was nominated for eight Oscars and won three for Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.

Spoilers ahead.

Christopher Nolan really knows how to make a film, and I’m not saying that because he made one of my favorite films of all time, “The Dark Knight”. At least not just because of that. I’ve been a fan since checking out “Memento” in college, having my mind melt as the story progressed backwards, knowing I had seen something that will be studied in a few decades. And sure enough, my daughter is studying that film in her high school TV & Film class, along with “Exit Through The Gift Shop” (Episode #060) and “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father” (Episode #095). We both kind of laughed that she was studying two films I had reviewed earlier this year. And while I haven’t yet seen “Inception” (I know, I know...), I was excited to see this, and now that I finally have, really regret not seeing it on the big screen. Because damn.

I was impressed by structure of the script, splitting the story into three separate stories with different timelines, converging at the end with the final rescues and aftermath. I was a little worried at the start, wondering if it would be too confusing, but Nolan does a great job using thematic storytelling for the film, keeping the right tension across the stories, even as they are converging. It is the same kind of scripting genius that drew me to “Memento”, and has brought me back ever since. The thematic storytelling only works with the right composition, though, and here again, Nolan weaves the sights, sounds, score, and performances to drive home the meaning of Dunkirk, both the reality of the day, and the inspiration later drawn from it to continue fighting the fascists. Top film, which definitely earned every Oscar for film and sound editing.

The cast is a great ensemble, including Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, James D’Arcy, Will Attenborough, and Kenneth Branagh. I don’t think anyone turned in a bad performance, and nearly all of them were in top form. War films that involve major battles almost require having large casts, to create the necessary realism, as opposed to the World War II films of yesteryear that relied heavily on small casts and large backdrops, like the film about Dunkirk being shot during World War II in last year’s “Our Finest”. We expect a lot more since “Saving Private Ryan”, and Nolan delivers.

“Dunkirk” (2017) is a sweeping tale of one of the greatest and most miraculous evacuations of all time. Nolan constructs an amazing script using thematic storytelling across converging timelines, showing three separate aspects of the event that inspired the United Kingdom to continue fighting, even in their darkest hour. Everyone has likely already seen this, but I would definitely recommend it to just about everyone, especially with the PG-13 rating. 

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% (CERTIFIED FRESH)

Metacritic: 94 (MUST SEE)

One Movie Punch: 9.2/10

“Dunkirk” (2017) is rated PG-13 and is currently streaming on HBO.