I think where this film shines is the visuals Justin Kurzel presents are amazingly gorgeous for being within rural potions of Australia it is often beautifully stylized with a lot of interesting choices when it comes to what we the audience are allowed to see in the frame, The biggest thing holding this film back is that every single character is despicable and I do mean "despicable" like that guy should not be allowed women or children or anyone for that matter. Although within the context of this movie the story revolves around a family of violent bandits with a protagonist whose role models were themselves totally despicable murderers and bushwhackers. This film had me thinking about the movie The Proposition and how I favored the protagonist Guy Pierce plays in Charlie, who is a bandit who seeks redemption and the freedom of his brother by hunting down his violent eldest brother. Such a protagonist is not to be found in this film which makes me ponder why I liked this film so much. I think it may be that it is a really interesting study of what masculinity is and if it is even real or just some social construct that is devoid of real quantifiable form.
I like the style of the semi-musical form of this film when characters break out into hip-hop when describing the narrative of the conflicts between certain characters as well as some of the romances that blossom. That sometimes plays against the quality of the film when the musical portions skim over key plot points that should be given more time to be fleshed out as I loved the acting and the dynamics of the friends turned rivals within the greater framework of the gangs that our protagonists are affiliated within the story.
Dunkirk is why IMAX theaters exist and why people buy giant widescreen televisions as this film is a feast for the eyes that the chef Christopher Nolan has been preparing his whole life to give to the audience. When I had heard a small radio spot about the film being screened for actual survivors of the retreat of the battle of Dunkirk I thought to myself "Nolan is so sure of his ability to bring authenticity to the big screen and pay homage to this time in history that he is willing to let those who were really there be the first judges." It feels like a dire retreat from start to finish and the stakes are only getting higher and higher as there is this ever-increasing sense of tension in the score of Dunkirk that keeps getting more intense as the film progresses. Murphy pulls off an extremely convincing victim of shellshock and very possibly PTSD as a soldier who is marooned on the lifeless skeleton of his former ship. I can ramble all night but at the end of the day, this is a fantastic war film.
After watching Tom Hardy give it his all as Al Capone in his final year of dementia-ridden life I found myself wondering "what is the purpose of this film's existence? I am not learning anything about Al Capone, in fact I feel like a voyeur peering into something that seems like exploitation of a real person's mental illness. There is a moment in the movie where Capone is being interviewed by the police and the cop is outright telling him that he does not care about Al's suffering while Tom Hardy's Capone goes to the bathroom in his pants and mumbles incoherently, I cannot recommend this movie as it just feels like exploitation of an infamous person's mental disorders at their worst.
There is something incredibly realistic about this film's portrayal of revenge that makes it all feel authentic because it is such a small-scale production. There is a depressingly quiet tone to the entire film that makes it feel like I am watching a tragedy unfold in front of me. The visuals are gorgeous with a naturally dark haze to everything, like what I am seeing is something that was meant to stay hidden in the shadows. This is the kind of film that registers as a whisper in an often loud genre of thrillers and I love every second of it.