War Films - Why Dunkirk joins the ranks of originals

in #film6 years ago

Hello, you beautiful Steemers. I’ve decided to take a look at a range of films, under the heading of ‘War Films’ and analyse why they stand out from the crowd.

The first film certainly isn't my favourite War film. But, it’s the first War film I’ve seen in a long time that has stood out to me. So, below is my analyse of!...


Since cinema began, War movies have been a staple product that Hollywood has churned out for movies goers. But, every once and awhile a film will come along that will bend what has been done before. Films such as Apocalypse Now, All Quiet On The Western Front, Full Metal Jacket, A Thin Red Line & The Deer Hunter to name but a few. My reasoning behind this is, that in a genre so awash with films all depicting similar themes and characters. These films managed to do something different. Something that audiences hadn’t seen before. Whether you like these movies personally or not isn’t the point. You can’t argue that they did something that viewers hadn’t seen before.

After thinking long and hard about this, I am now going to put Dunkirk into this category. Which, for me, did something that was totally unlike anything I’d ever seen.


From the moment it begins it pulls you into the chaos of battle. While still slowly building the tension using all the cinematic elements with absolute procession.

The Score by Hans Zimmer never yields from the moment the film begins. The quintessential ticking clock that Nolan uses is there but is heightened more than ever. Using Shepherd Tones – another quintessential Nolan trick - adds to the ominous pressure that time is always against our characters.

Added to this is the Sound Design which is done with such accuracy and precisions that it pulls you into the story and leaves you feeling as if at any moment a screeching fighter plane will roar overhead.

Van Hoytema's cinematography is the one thing that separates this from other Nolan films. Instead of what is usually fast-paced shots throwing us around the scenes. Hoytema's shots are longer, slower, they almost bring you into the frame, leaving you to contemplate everything that you've seeing. Over the years Hoytema has become one of my favourite Cinematographers working today. Below is a video link that breaks down his style brilliantly.

Added to all the above is probably what I consider the best element of this Movie, the editing. Choosing to have a non-linear timeline of the events serves to show that Nolan is a master when it comes to engaging an audience.

This could’ve been just another ‘man needs to get from point A to point B’ story. Breaking up the timeline, not only distorts the audiences perception of time and space, but it adds to the feeling that in this moment of horror and chaos, time for these soldiers moves differently.

“Unlike all other art forms, film is able to seize and render the passage of time, to stop it, and almost to possess it in infinity.” Andrei Tarkovsky.

Spoiler Alert

A lot of people have made an issue with the fact that we never got to know any of the characters. This, more than anything, is what seemed to be the biggest complaint about the movie. I don’t disagree with this totally. But, for me never understanding the characters is not the point. This is not a film about bravery or good versus evil. At its core, this is a film about survival. As is summed up when the character of Alex played by Harry Styles is congratulated by a Blind Man when he steps off the boat in England.

Blind Man: Well done lads.

Alex: All we did was survive.

Blind Man: That's enough.


In an age of spectacle, Nolan has created something that is more of an event. There is no character arc’s, life lessons, shock factor or even over big star names in this story. It is simply about people surviving in the most hostile of environments.

Nolan has taken a genre of film and in my perspective, done something with it, that only some of the great filmmakers have been able to do… Make it their own.

Thoughts and opinions are always welcomed - Don't forget to upvote.

Steem On!


Congratulations @newstagefilms! You received a personal award!

Happy Birthday! - You are on the Steem blockchain for 2 years!

You can view your badges on your Steem Board and compare to others on the Steem Ranking

Vote for @Steemitboard as a witness to get one more award and increased upvotes!