Dunkirk, review

Telling the story from a broader view of land, sea and air, Dunkirk shows the lives and rescue of the allied men from Belgium, the British Empire and France stuck on the beach during World War II.

Christopher Nolan has told countless stories from the point of view of his characters, creating their backstory, giving them a history and supporting figures in their lives in order to make their anguish and struggle seem more personal so that you can connect with those you wouldn’t normally. It’s in Dunkirk which he has subverted his own story telling technique. Here you have several events taking place with a range of soldiers going through a number of situations. Without knowing very much about them at all, some whose names are never said, you find yourself caring greatly for them and their safety. Knowing full well that you would never want to be in such a situation, Nolan immerses you as much as he can within the fighter planes, in the water, in the boats, on the beach, running from gunfire. It’s his unique way of making a war film (despite the director stating that this isn’t a war film).

It starts with a few soldiers walking along quiet deserted streets, picking up leaflets strewn across the ground which say “We Surround You. Surrender + Survive”. It’s a stark reminder to the men and the audience of the dire situation that they are in. Shortly after, the gun fire begins and they are running for their lives. From here on in, it’s a heart thumping race to survive in any way possible.

It’s narrative is spread not only across land, sea and air but also through three different timelines, intertwining with each other, getting a wide spread sense of the fear and danger each and every soldier is in. There’s one week for Tommy (Fionn Whithead) initially running from gunfire, it’s a day for civilian Mark Rylance who takes his boat, son and friend out to sea to help those trapped on the beach and it’s an hour for Tom Hardy’s fighter pilot, yet again having his face covered up but working wonders with his eyebrows. The intricate non-linear plots are stitched together seamlessly and minus the brief indications on screen, it’s not a detail which you notice too much.

Each performance feels more like a supporting character as there is no one person’s story which is told through out. Rylance and his boat, Hardy and his plane, plus Kenneth Branagh all appear on screen plenty of times, whilst giving gut wrenchingly intense performances while Whithead and Harry Styles who primarily remain on the beach together create a perilous atmosphere as they run and hide to survive.

These characters do not have a back story that we know about, the only part of their lives that we are aware of is what we see in front of us. Yet with it’s incredibly clever use of sound (the bullets piercing boats and planes, boots on the ground, heavy breathing) and sparing dialogue, you find yourself deeply concerned for all of those involved. The initial gun shots are deafening and echo off the houses and around the streets, showing how alone they are. The fear created primarily by rounds firing is hammered home when Rylance picks up Cillian Murphy, who’s terrified to the point of anger. Across his face and in all of his actions, you can feel it. Rylance feels it’s necessary to remind him “There’s no hiding from this son”.

Despite the 400,000 men who have no way of getting home, it’s Nolan’s use of each bullet that goes to show how isolated they are. It also becomes a way of pushing in the sense peril, the rattling of the war planes as they are hit several times by bullets, the explosions on the beach getting louder and louder as they approach you. It’s all encompassed by Han Zimmer’s stunning score, which is his best with Nolan yet. The use of sounds within the film being played along to Zimmer’s music, the thudding, the bangs, the piercing bullets as well as the sound of a ticking clock as if time is about to run out puts an intense and intimate atmosphere throughout the film.

Each and every moment has been designed to bring you as close to the edge of your seat as possible, it immerses you into the action without the use of 3D. If there was ever an argument for getting rid of 3D for good, this is it. A consistent visceral feeling which will remain with you for a long time. This will give you a hint of what it was really like on that beach, just without the danger.

5 out of 5.

Keep. It. Reel.

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Dunkirk teaser trailer released

It feels like Christopher Nolan has been away from the directors chair for quite some time now. It’s been around two years since the mind-blowing visually-stunning Interstellar hit cinemas around the world and since completing his own Dark Knight trilogy and now, he’s been a producer on DC’s Extended Universe. Well, he’s back and he’s back with a (almost) bang.

Dunkirk

Last night a teaser trailer for the upcoming World War II drama, Dunkirk was released to eager Nolan fans, all very excited to see his latest piece of work. As expected we don’t really see much but from what is shown, it looks as if it will be an epic. What else would you expect from a director whose last film in the chair was almost 3 hours long? What we do see is an army who, one by one, look up at the sky. As they all turn and see what’s above them, it’s clear they may be under attack via air strike. What happens next remains to be seen.

Take a look at the trailer below and see what you think. With a high-end cast which includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance, this is going to be one to watch. There is one person missing from Nolan’s crew however, Wally Pfister, who has been his Cinematographer up until The Dark Knight Rises. I hope they collaborate again soon. The film is due for release July 21, 2017.

Keep. It. Reel.

Batman vs. Superman – official images and sad Batman.

Movie marathon: the survival guide.

On Friday night myself and 3 friends made our way down to the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square for the Ultimate Batman Movie Marathon. I’ve never done one of these before but I’ve always wanted to. It really sounded like fun, pushing your sitting down skills to the very limit, holding your bladder until it almost bursts, getting to watch some great old and new films in a row and spending time in my favourite cinema. What could be better?!

The opportunity finally came up on Friday to attend the Batman marathon which started at 8.30pm Friday and ended at around 10.30am the next day.  Quite a feat in front of me. I want to stay and I need to stay. Some throws down a challenge like this and you have to do it. Especially if you’re self-confessed film geek such as myself.

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Before you embark on something like this, you need to prepare in some way. There’s is a lot to think of and only after completing this did I realise what you should and should not do before, during and after a movie marathon. So here are my very own hints and tips for surviving the long hours you will spend staring at the big screen.

1. Fatty food for films.

I met my friends at 7.30pm and we went for a few drinks and Chinese food. Good start!  The food was a very good idea but maybe not Chinese. Maybe something more filling like pizza for example. It helps you last without spending too much on movie food. Plus it tastes  better! Oh I love Chinese food…moving on!

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2. Shit before you sit.

I always stick to this no matter how long the film is. Something I hate is someone getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of a film. You may miss vital parts, they make noise when they leave and come back in and you can avoid all of this by going before the film! I know this isn’t everyone’s view, it’s just me, I’m just saying it’s annoying! In other words shit before you sit.

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3. As soon as you’re free, pee!

Having said all of that, you can always go in between the films. The Prince Charles Cinema give you a good 5 – 10 minutes in between which helps for buying snacks, going for a smoke or just finally letting it all out! With Batman, there were 6 films so plenty of time in between, just hope you get the same kind of deal!

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During the Batman marathon, my breakfast included a large coke and a big bag of Maltesers. Not a bad way to start my Saturday. Although maybe popcorn would have been a better idea…

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4. Move it, move it!

You’re sitting there. Only getting up for a few minutes at a time. A few hours at a time of being in the same position. It’s hard, no matter your age I promise. I once sat crossed-legged for 4 hours straight without getting up, I’m 28. It hurt. I kicked my legs out a lot in the final hour. What a feeling! Anyway, get up and move when you can. You may not need the toilet, be a smoker or want to eat or drink but get those legs moving. Shake your fat ass if you have to. I did! I did it a lot, it was great! If you don’t? Your legs go stiff, your knees hurt, have fun with that. MOVE IT MOVE IT!

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5. Walk of fame

I left the cinema at 10.50am the next day and I walked to the station. I felt great! I felt like I have truly achieved something. Some may say a waste of time. I say no! It was an amazing feeling. I grinned all the way to the station. I was called a dirty stop out but how can this be? Besides the fact that I didnt shower or brush my teeth, I was totally clean, I swear! But what a great way to start my weekend. It will leave you with a great feeling , no matter what. You may be tired, you may have ruined your diet, but honestly, so what? You’ve just watched some great films, with some great friends (unless they do what my mate did and leave EARLY. Poor effort), a perfect night out and you won’t feel hungover the next day.

SO there you have it, my experience and learnings from my first ever movie marathon. From what I know now, this will not be my last. Follow these rules and you’ll survive the night, you will go home a hero.

The Dark Knight Rises video collection.

The Dark Knight Rises tickets for the Imax are on sale already, more than a month before the film is released. If you were like me, you would have stayed up to get them as soon as you could, to get the best seats and to enjoy the experience as soon as possible! If you aren’t like me, chances are you won’t want to watch all of these videos of The Dark Knight Rises including the trailers and several TV spots. And excuse the extreme Dark Knight Rises post, it won’t be a regular thing for those who aren’t a fan of Christian Bale’s gravel-esque voice!

And more rises from The Dark Knight…

SO many new images from The Dark Knight Rises, banners, posters and well, that’s about it. They aren’t great to be honest and to get the full picture, I’d say stick to the three trailers, you get a lot more.

There is one image, the last image. It’s Catwoman, well just her silver steel heel treading on one of Batman’s symbol, breaking it in two. The killer heel features as a possible hint to what we may expect, an utterly different Catwoman to what we’ve seen in the trailers. A more vicious Catwoman. The sign off from Catwoman, the two kisses and lipstick mark could be seen as a flirtatious threat in a way. It’s something we’ll have to wait and see. And one last thing, have a closer look at the lipstick mark, a symbol you may recognise in the gap.

A super year for super heroes!

We will never forget the unfortunate and lacklustre comic book films that have come out in recent years including Green Hornet (2011), Green Lantern (2011) and the terrible Superman Returns (2006) but what some may forget is that the studios would never have made these without the aide of Spiderman and X-Men who released their first films 2000 and 2002. They were both huge hits at the box office and comic book fan united and wanted more. Who knew what they’d get some years later is the studios scraping the barrel for film. Even the reboot of Superman films was badly executed. It did to the Superman series what Batman & Robin did to the Batman collective.

But now we find ourselves in 2012, the year of three huge superhero movies, one of which is the concluding chapter in what has already been a brilliant trilogy. Another is a reboot which the fans are more excited about than the original. The final film has already become one of the greatest successes at the box office and This year sees three highly anticipated films released including The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises, with the latter arguably being the most popular release this year.

The Avengers

The Avengers has been in the making since Ironman of 2008, where Nick Fury makes an appearance after the credits and visits Tony Stark to tell him about the Avengers initiative. Since then, in The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America, small hints and clues have been dropped using Nick Fury and the ever brilliant Agent Coulson to start the rumours of The Avengers. A film with more superheroes than you will ever see in one film, unless DC get their finger out and make The Justice League. It’s clear to see why this is a huge release for 2012.

Whilst enjoying The Avengers, please take a minute for poor Spidey  who is not one of The Avengers, despite the fact that they all come from comic super power Marvel. However don’t feel THAT bad for him, after just 5 years since Spiderman 3, he’s been given a reboot. This is no ordinary reboot however, this is one that the fans wanted, the one that gets more to the root of who Peter Parker really is and what happened to his parents. We will also see the character Gwen Stacey introduced, who is a refreshing change from Mary Jane. Andrew Garfield takes up the role of Peter Parker / Spiderman and looks as if he is more suited to this than Tobey Maguire, who I never felt fit the part in the way that he should have! I’m sure I can expect some backlash from that comment!

Now we come the The Dark Knight Rises. The legend that will end this year is the legend we’ve been waiting for 4 years to return. Four years after we saw Batman take the fall from Harvey Dents crimes, he returns. But what he returns to we will have to wait and see. From the three trailers, what we do know is that Bane is his new enemy and he’s causing havoc and devastation in Gotham. What has happened to Batman, we don’t know but chances are when it comes to both brains and brawn, The Dark Knight has finally met his match. This is the third and final Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale Batman flick that we will see. After breaking the the billion dollar barrier at the box office, The Dark Knight has set the bar incredibly high, but knowing what Nolan can do, chances are he’ll Rise above it!

Man of Steel

So a great year for some great some films, and there will be more to come. The Amazing Spiderman 2 has already been announced as as The Avengers 2 and 3. Without a doubt, this will be a super year. And for those of you worried about Superman, fret not dear friend! Take a look above, this is the first images from The Man of Steel, pencilled in for a release in 2013, with Christopher Nolan’s creative input as Executive Producer, working with Zack Snyder as Director, this should have you looking forward to another super year for superheroes.