Dunkirk doesn't feel like Christopher Nolan.
Meaning, not literally him. Mr. Nolan the person feels like really soft cashmere. No, I am talking his work.
For anyone who doesn't know what he looks like, I get it. Most days, I myself don't know what ANYONE behind the scenes look like and am familiar with their career timelines. You find out soon, "OHHHHHH!!!!!!! I had no idea that director/screenwriter/composer/costume designer/fill in the blank had electric pink hair/was 25/I saw him yesterday buying jeans at Express/at that guy's grandma's house!" Truth.
This is Mr. Nolan. Dude is so stylish, he looks like he should win GQ Man of the Year every year.
Dunkirk is not your standard Christopher Nolan fare like his past hits Batman Begins, Batman Saves Gotham From Heath Ledger's Smudged Revlon Lipstick, Anne Hathaway Falls in Love in Space, the usual he makes. I love all of those movies stashed on my iPad. His work is about manipulating audience's emotional well being at the right times. Slick, big budget filmmaking everyone wishes they could do and few can who aren't Peter Jackson. Mr. Nolan is by far in my top list of favorite filmmakers. I admire this guy like my little cat admires her older cat sister and copies everything she does. His Batman trilogy is the best there will ever be in my lifetime as far as what is available to modern day filmmaking techniques. You can watch it in 2018 and not feel like it's outdated.
Dunkirk shares that classic quality. You know in the year 5021, you will value its flawless storytelling.
The movie knows it's a movie. War movies aren't my thing. I expected a History Channel recreation of the actual events. Making a war movie in itself is almost crazily impossible because if you bring Hollywood glam into it, you lose the point of making a war movie. Haven't we seen enough about lead guys falling for some random girl? Yes. So glad he left out any romantic elements.
If you take it so seriously as a history lesson, your war movie will feel like homework. Don't need that either.
The way I'd explain Dunkirk to someone who hasn't seen it is you know what's going to happen. No escaping that.
You fall into the movie slowly. Not one time in Dunkirk is there a big twisty plot with hidden story reveals. The movie starts out slowly and goes down and down into the storytelling. You at the beginning may feel a little confused when you come from Mr. Nolan's past style and say, "What? Where is the suspense?"
I had not until now heard Mr. Hans Zimmer's score for this. I really wanted to see the movie before I heard anything. Before seeing Dunkirk, I thought this would be his kind of sweeping, Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, big orchestra thing he is known for. We get that a little and in much of it, I'd compare his music to that stinging electronic FX sound whenever Heath Ledger's Joker appaers in The Dark Knight. If I had heard this score by itself, I wouldn't necessarily say it is wrong, though I would be taken by surprise that it works in this movie. The music comes together amazingly well for this film.
As you go deeper into the film, you see so many well edited sequences. The wrong edits could've turned them into a super boring war movie you watch in history class. Or, you could view it like, "What is this? This CGI looks like a Pixar cartoon!" The ocean and everything here is so beautiful. Whoever did the cinematography and editing...wow. You are amazing.
The movie's feel itself is like low level suspense for an hour and a half. None of Mr. Nolan's quick action scene, calm scene, medium suspense, reeeeeally slow scene, big action scene format. In doing so, Mr. Nolan challenged himself to do something different. When you keep doing the same thing, your act grows stale. People seek new filmmakers. Mr. Nolan gets that and gives us a change here. And, in giving us a very non-hormonally fluctuating film method for Dunkirk, he works hard and does it well. Probably, entertaining audiences with a movie that doesn't change its storytelling speed for about 90 minutes is harder than whatever he already does.
Dunkirk in this is what does feel like Mr. Nolan is behind the project. The professionalism he has and other directors don't have. The way you take this film apart like a puzzle in what everyone acting and behind the scenes does for their jobs and fitting it all together in perfection is why I love this guy as a filmmaker. No one can match him. Someone else working with the same cast and crew would come out with a different movie that's nowhere close to as good as this is.
Would I recommend this movie to a friend?
Yeah, probably. Depending on who it is. Dunkirk isn't for people who think Legally Blonde is the greatest movie in Hollywood history above Schindler's List. For people who dig Legally Blonde AND Oscar nominated work, maybe. For film snobs, absolutely. For people who fanboy/fangirl over Mr. Nolan, absolutely.
Oh, yes. For anyone younger than me who doesn't care and loves his/her boy banders, Harry Styles is in this. :P Mr. Nolan knows how to drag in every audience age group!