Critic Consensus: Dunkirk serves up emotionally satisfying spectacle, delivered by a writer-director in full command of his craft and brought to life by a gifted ensemble cast that honors the fact-based story.
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Critic Reviews for Dunkirk
Nolan's sense of memory and of history is as flattened-out and untroubled as his sense of psychology and of character.
It isn't a standard war movie, but it sure is some beautiful, difficult thing.
Occasional bursts of flames, imperiling many of the effectively nameless characters, come as a relief from the chromatic tedium.
The movie works. Time and again, the action swells and dips, like a wave, then suddenly delivers a salty slap in the face.
Audience Reviews for Dunkirk
Nolan's technical superiority is on full display in the intensely shot Dunkirk, but the film lacks a compelling character and it's unique storytelling methods kept me semi-confused throughout the majority of the film. The action sequences are top-notch and the movie is beautifully shot, but the emotional moments rang hollow to me. I am one of the biggest Nolan fans you will find and I think the hype train got me a little on this one. I went in expecting a masterpiece and came out a little disappointed. This is still a good film worth watching, especially if you are familiar with the true events it is depicting or are an avid war film fan, but the storytelling could have used more. Ultimately, I probably won't watch it again, but Dunkirk is eye candy if nothing else.
However interesting it may be, the non-linearity of the plot is quite distracting and disorienting (and not in a good way), and it is much easier to admire this movie for being technically efficient (despite Hans Zimmer's clichéd score and how loud everything is) than anything it tells.
Christopher Nolan only makes good movies, and Dunkirk is no exception. However, I am used to getting lost and found in his complex ideas and narratives, and in this film he ditches all of that to focus on minute audio and visual details to create ultra-real action and suspense. This is a change from Nolan's previous work, and I do prefer his previous work to this, but I won't let my lofty standards for films he directs bring down this movie, which may be the best war movie I have ever seen.
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