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.

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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.

Oscar 2016 predictions

Tonight sees the red carpet rolled out once more for the biggest award ceremony in the movie industry, the Academy Awards, which is the 88th celebration so far. This year has been unfortunately marred with controversy, many claiming that the Oscars are racist. It’s a shame when this happens as it takes something away the great work done by so many tremendously talented people. However, I’m sure it won’t get in the way of tonight’s festivities, especially with Chris Rock hosting. I’ll be live blogging the whole event through the night, I’m so glad I’ve got Monday off, staying up until 5am and then working all day? No thanks.

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So here are my predictions of a few awards being handed out this weekend, let’s see how close I come to getting them right, for once!

Best Film

Nominations

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

And the winner is The Revenant

Out of those which have been nominated, no film is better. The story, screenplay, shots, costume, acting and more make this the best film of the year. Alejandro González Iñárritu has done incredible job, each sequence shot is a masterpiece in its own right, the attack on the beach is a particular favourite of mine. Hearing that he shot only at a certain time of the day to get the right light, putting Leonardo DiCaprio through such a hellish ordeal, the track shots throughout, the cinematography that made you feel just a bit colder than normal in a movie theatre, it’s all a testament to on of the best films ever made. 

Best Director

Nominations

Adam Mckay – The Big Shiort

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G Inarritu – The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

And the winner is Alejandro G Inarritu for The Revenant

Well, what more can I say? He has created a masterpiece that has been talked about for so long now, it feels like this movie has been with us for quite some time. Inarritu has had a very solid history of making acclaimed movies from last years Birdman, to 2010’s Biutiful, to 2000’s Amores Perros and several more. He’s got a brilliant eye for what makes a good story and then executes it with perfect diction and a lot of the time his work will really make you think.

Best Actor

Nominations

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Matt Damon – The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

And the winner is Leonardo DiCaprio

As much as I enjoyed almost all of these performances, there’s no doubt at all that this is Leo’s year. It’s his fifth nomination and it’s finally going to happen for him. For those of you who have seen The Revenant, you would have witnessed a man being put through some very trying circumstances in which he not only had to endure but he had to act through as well, it’s a really superb performance. Well done Leo, you finally did it.

Best Actress

Nominations

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room

Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

And the winner is Brie Larson

I have loved every single performance in this category but for me, my money is on Brie Larson who starred in the incredible Room, bringing an emotional performance like no other. The story involves a mother and son, locked in a room together for years with no way out. The mother, Ma, has been kidnapped and given birth to Jack whilst in this dungeon. Larson gives a deeply emotional performance in which she depicts the trauma of a kidnapping victim in a remarkably realistic way and she has a bond with Jack that’s different to any other mother and son relationship. A really amazing film with a superb performance by its lead actress.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominations

Christian Bale – The Big Short

Tom Hardy – The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

And the winner is Mark Rylance

He won the BAFTA for his performance in Bridge of Spies and there’s no question that he not only deserves the Oscar, but that he has earned it. His performance as Rudolf Abel is smart, witty, understated and surprisingly funny. He delivers some incredible lines, written by Matt Charman along with the Cohen brothers, no wonder there are so many oddly humorous moments in this spy thriller. But the lines would be nothing without Mark Rylance. He is working with Spielberg again on The BFG and I’m sure we can expect yet another stellar performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominations

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara – Carol

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

And the winner is Kate Winslet

This is the most difficult one to predict however I’ve gone with Kate Winslet as it does feel like she has the edge over my second choice of Rachel McAdams. She’s brilliant as Joanna Hoffman in the extremely underrated Steve Jobs (I can’t tell you how annoying it is that this film has not received the appreciation it deserves, especially when it comes to the screenplay. How was Aaron Sorkin not nominated?!) She’s the voice of reason when Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is losing it with his staff, the mother of his daughter and his daughter. Winslet does a great job of keeping her accent (what is it with some actors who try and fail this so many times) and keeping her cool with each escalating situation. Let’s hope she wins.

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep

Boy and the Wild

When Marnie Was There

And the winner is Inside Out

No question when it comes to this one, Inside Out was a stand out film in so many ways. Pixar have a history of making us feel something very real for animated characters, no other studio can compare with their current work.But this time they have used emotions to make us feel emotional. The concept of using the emotions within a girl going through a major change in her life really hit home for a lot of older viewers who can see themselves in Riley. It’s a very relatable story which anyone who has ever had something big in their life completely change and anyone who has ever grown up! Moving on from your imaginary friend, going through changes, making new friends, it’s all in there and it’s all why this film will win the Oscar this year.

Keep. It. Reel.

A few thoughts on the Golden Globes 2016

The Golden Globes has a very chequered history due to allegations of bribes in previous years. However it seems they have cleaned up their act quite a lot, this year in particular we see that a lot of people, movies and TV shows have rightly won awards. Maybe this is old news, but I feel the winners have been getting better and better. Because of its history and because of some ridiculous categories (who puts comedy and musical together in one?!) I will always have a problem with this awards ceremony. Here’s just a few short thoughts on what happened this year.

The return of Ricky Gervais

For three years in a row, Gervais verbally butchered his colleagues and the Hollywood Foreign Press, who all took it in their stride, besides a slightly miffed Robert Downey Jr who said, during the 2011 ceremony when presenting an award, that the vibe of the show was “mean spirited” and “sinister”. Ouch! He’s right, but that doesn’t stop it from being funny! This year was no different, he tore through the celebrities, and began by mocking NBC who had no nominations at all. During his opening monologue, he made some on point jokes, referencing Caitlyn Jenner, the fact that he’s hosted four times and a superbly glib remark about the past of the Golden Globes. You really must watch it, check it out below and have a look at his previous years of hosting as well. Very funny and very mean.

Aaron Sorkin wins best screenplay for Steve Jobs

This is my favourite award of the night, no one deserves it more from the past year of movies. Aaron Sorkin has written a killer script with some of the best dialogue you will ever hear, for those of you who haven’t seen it, Steve Jobs is a real surprise hit after going through so many production problems but it was released to widespread critical acclaim and showed that you can make a film about Steve Jobs and about computers, whilst keeping it entertaining. Well done Aaron, you’re sharp, witty and smarter than them all.

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Leo winning

Some say that the Golden Globes are a gateway into the Oscars, which pretty much means that if you win at the Globes, you’ll win at the Academy Awards. Of course this isn’t always true, but people are once again talking about Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar. Last night, he won the best actor Golden Globe for his performance in The Revenant, a film I’m still yet to see but very much looking forward to. He’s been here before, so many times. I’m sure he’s sick of it and wants it all to end. Personally I don’t think that this is his year, I think one day he will win one. But not this year, not for this performance. One day Leo, one day.

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A lot of the Globes went to the right people (poor Mark Rylance), and now they are looking forward to the Oscars. The nominations are coming out on the 14th of this month, and the ceremony will be taking place on the 28th February. Let’s see how close the Golden Globes have got it. My guess? For the first time in a while, they look pretty much accurate. We’ll see.

You can see a full list of last nights winners here.

Keep. It. Reel.