First ‘Dunkirk’ Reactions Praise Craft and Tension in Christopher Nolan’s WWII Action-Thriller

The first reactions to Christopher Nolan’s World War II action-thriller Dunkirk have landed online. Written and directed by Nolan, the film follows the true story of Operation Dynamo, the rescue operation that saved hundreds of thousands of British soldiers who were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II. At 1 hour and 47 minutes, this is Nolan’s shortest film since his debut feature Following, but it’s certainly not small in scale. Reuniting with his Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, the film was shot with a mixture of IMAX and 65mm film to bring the story to the screen in the most immersive way possible.

So what’s the word? Well, unsurprisingly, those who saw the film at the press day have high praise for Nolan’s craft. The guy is a master filmmaker, and with Dunkirk it sounds like he’s put together a non-stop, edge-of-your-seat thriller. The IMAX photography is also getting strong notices, as folks point out that experiencing this movie in full IMAX is the best way to do it.

But there seems to be a bit of an undercurrent of underwhelming notices for the characters and story. Nolan’s film sounds more experiential than anything, and there’s no individual standout character. Also, if you looking for movie stars, this ain’t the film—Tom Hardy apparently only has a handful of lines.

Check out the reactions below. The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. Dunkirk opens in theaters on July 21st.

Here’s the official synopsis for Dunkirk:

When 400,000 men couldn’t get home…

home came for them.

 

From filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy) comes the epic action thriller “Dunkirk.”

 

Nolan directed “Dunkirk” from his own original screenplay, utilizing a mixture of IMAX® and 65mm film to bring the story to the screen.

 

“Dunkirk” opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

 

The film’s ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, with Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn,” “Hamlet,” “Henry V”), Cillian Murphy (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Wolf Hall”) and Tom Hardy (“The Revenant,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Inception”).

Image via Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

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