Film Review: Dunkirk

A couple of weeks ago, after my 21st birthday, my cousin Ellie and I decided to get our asses out of our beds for once and go to the cinema. We’d both been dying to see Dunkirk because we’re both quite interested in history and I love going to see films. I had high expectations for this film which, to be honest, often leads to disappointment.

I am in awe of this film. From the moment Fionn Whitehead came onto the screen walking around the city of Dunkirk, looking in abandoned shop windows and drinking water from a hose pipe, I was on edge. There was a sense of foreboding. Next thing I know gun shots are going off, very very loud gunshots. I think one of my favourite things about the film was the level of noise. It was almost like they’d amped the volume up to increase the realism and shock factor.

Dunkirk

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When the planes flew overhead, about to drop bombs, and there was literally nothing the soldiers could do and nowhere to hide so they all just fell to the floor and hoped for the best. It really made me think about what is must’ve been like to be there. It must have been terrifying. I can’t imagine anything scarier than that moment when you hear the plane coming and realise your life could be over within a minute if you’re in an unlucky spot. The British and French were cornered into a tiny space by the German army and that area was being routinely bombed.

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Christopher Nolan’s direction was really the thing that made the film for me. His clever use of chronology in order to tell three stories within one 2 hour film was incredible (and slightly reminiscent of one of his other films Inception). He also managed to convey some of the difficulty the pilots faced, trying to tackle the enemy from the air, by filming from their perspective. It was clever, loud and apparently mostly filmed on location (and that means that poor Harry Styles probably really was suffering in the picture below). I don’t think anybody else could’ve done a better job.

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Speaking of Harry Styles, casting him was a massive risk for Nolan to take. It could’ve completely taken the focus away from the massive historical point of the film. Also, if done badly, it could’ve made a bit of a mockery of the whole film. I was VERY pleasantly surprised though. Styles seemed to take the role really seriously and actually pulled it off very well. He wasn’t a scene stealer, but I think for the first feature film role of his career post One Direction that’s the way it should’ve been. The only moment I found a little bit comical (for the wrong reasons) was when he was accusing Gibson of being a German spy and said something along the lines of “he’ll have an accent thicker than sauerkraut sauce”. To be fair to the guy though, that’s just not a very good line.

At points the plight of the characters felt entirely hopeless, as I’m sure things must have felt for the soldiers at the time. Despite minimal dialogue (another choice that worked brilliantly and built tension) I became very attached to most of the characters. When they boarded another boat hoping to finally get home only to be bombed again it was incredibly distressing. Sometimes, however, the film was heart warming. Mainly in Mark Rylance’s scenes where his character Dawson showed the real courage of civilians who headed straight into a war zone to try and save their men. At the end of the film, when Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead are on the train and begin to read Churchill’s famous “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech while locals run alongside the train passing them cider through the window to welcome them home, It was just so uplifting and I found it quite emotional.

When I came out of this film I was pretty much speechless and it’s been on my mind since. I’ve seen it once again and would probably go see it again given the chance (and if it didn’t cost like £9 at my local cinema). Although I think it’s a little early to say, I feel like this may be one of my all time favourite films.

I would give this film 5/5 stars. I hope you all get a chance to see it.

 

Until next time,

J x

 

July Music Favourites!

Again this is slightly on the late side so sorry about that but this is a round up of what I’ve been listening to recently 🙂 I have to admit that over the past month I’ve been listening to slightly less music. I’m not really sure why that is but it might be to do with work and other commitments like trying to watch Game of Thrones right from the beginning 🙂

 

Ariana Grande – Sometimes

To be honest I’ve been listening to all the songs on Dangerous Woman. Ever since the Ariana’s massive charity concert in Manchester following the terror attack at her concert I’ve had a newfound respect for her as a person, and that seems to have affected me love of her music. She’s the queen of pop at the moment and every time she releases a single it’s a hit. Sometimes wasn’t released as a single but to me its one of the standout tracks on the album. Right from the get go with the “la la la” vocals (by an unknown person) I was interested to see where the track would go. It was something a little bit different, and more mellow, compared to the other big tracks on the album. Instead of being a cynical ballad about a failed love or a high paced hit chronicling flirtation and sexual tension, this song is unashamedly optimistic and is about a love that lasts. Sometimes it’s nice to listen to something like that 🙂

Tom Odell – Wrong Crowd

On a different note Wrong Crowd by Tom Odell is decidedly melancholic. It reflects on a turbulent childhood, failed relationship and essentially an inner turmoil that results in both a mentally and physically unhealthy lifestyle. The whistling and melody at the start of the song is what really captivated me (much like Sometimes) but Tom Odell’s effortless, understated vocals are what really carries the song and adds depth to his, already emotional, lyrics.

Twin Atlantic – No Sleep

I listened to Twin Atlantic a fair amount in July in the lead up to Belladrum Festival (which my last post is about, click here to read). They’re a Scottish rock band (with very noticeable accents) and are really pretty popular up here. I’m not sure of their success outside of Scotland but every time I’ve seen them here the venues have been packed out. No Sleep is my favourite song from their album GLA because of the roaring chorus. It feels quite epic, particularly when performed live. There is no getting away from the cringey lyric “I take pills and I drink alcohol”, I mean way to be subtle about it. Other than that though, I like this song very much.

Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger

Ever since I watched the documentary Supersonic about Oasis’ career and the… difficult relationship between Noel and Liam Gallagher I’ve been listening to Oasis a lot more. This was heightened when I began following Liam on twitter, I think I followed Noel as well but let’s be real Liam’s twitter is far more entertaining. Liam’s nickname ‘Potato’ for Noel ‘because he looks like a potato’ is pretty much perfectly catered to my sense of humour and I’m trying hard not to laugh writing this. Other than making me laugh these two have created some classic hits over the years. Despite Wonderwall probably being their most referenced hit I’ve been listening to Don’t Look Back in Anger and Rock n Roll Star a lot recently. Liam’s rendition of Rock n Roll Star at Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert was the most exciting part of the evening for me and, as per usual, his percussionist skills were impeccable (tambourine AND maracas).

Niall Horan – Slow Hands – wasn’t a fan of other song

I didn’t really have high hopes for Niall Horan’s solo career, probably because he always faded into the background of One Direction somewhat (at least from my perspective). When he released his first single This Town I wasn’t blown away. I found it quite forgettable and didn’t really make much further effort to keep up with his music. Then I heard Slow Hands on the radio once and it got stuck in my head. The guitar riff is catchy and I found myself thinking I had an old rock ballad stuck in my head, only to remember it was actually little Niall. Despite thinking it was “Small Hands” for a few weeks which, in hindsight makes absolutely NO sense and is pretty hilarious, I not have the lyrics right and enjoy this easy listener.

Harry Styles – Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times is just an AMAZING song. I couldn’t have imagined that Harry would release something like this. I firmly believe that he has the strongest career prospects of any of the One Direction leavers. Also after seeing Dunkirk for a second time last night I am massively impressed with not only his vocals and lyrics but has acting skills as well (who knew). I actually think Sign of the Times and Dunkirk have quite a few things in common. Mainly, they’re both understated and rely on the sheer quality of the content they’re based on (in Sign of the Times case, strong chorus lyrics and Harry’s vocals and in Dunkirk the raw, real story being told and the astounding direction). There’s no unnecessary eccentricities to either of these works and, in my opinion, that is the best thing about them.

London Grammar – Strong

I think I’ve spoken about London Grammar before on this blog but that’s because they are unique and brilliant. Hannah Reid’s clear vocals manage to make every song far more thought provoking and memorable than they perhaps would have been. Live, they are touching and a sight to behold. Hannah stands relatively still by her microphone throughout the performance and the boys (Dan and Dominic) do not move around much either. Their concert is a display of pure talent with no need for bells and whistles. I’ve been listening to every song on their album If You Wait but Strong (their most successful single) is the song I always find myself humming in my head and wanting to go back to the most.

I hope you enjoyed having a little peruse of what I’ve been listening to the past month. Please let me know what you’ve been enjoying as well, I’m always looking for recommendations!

Until next time,

J x