Thursday 18 July 2019

Critics give glowing reviews as Dunkirk receives top movie ratings

Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s first foray into historical film-making.

Dunkirk (Eamonn M McCormack/PA)
Dunkirk (Eamonn M McCormack/PA)

By Francesca Gosling

Reviews are in for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and feedback for the director’s first foray into historical film-making could not be more positive.

The film, which stars Sir Mark Rylance, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and One Direction star Harry Styles, recounts the horrific Second World War battle, where Allied soldiers found themselves surrounded by German troops.

After 28 reviews were published on Monday, movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes gave it an almost top mark of 96%.

Here is what some of the movie critics had to say:

:: The Guardian described it as Nolan’s “best film so far” and deemed it: “horribly appropriate for these Brexit times.” Peter Bradshaw also gave a nod to Hans Zimmer’s “best” musical score and wrote: “It works in counterpoint to the deafening artillery and machine-gun fire that pretty much took the fillings out of my teeth and sent them in a shrapnel fusillade all over the cinema auditorium.”

:: The Daily Express paid tribute to Styles’ acting skills – placing them leagues above David Beckham’s cameo in King Arthur earlier this year – and said of the immersive film experience: “This isn’t your typical churned out war movie: this is war and you’re in it.”

:: Robbie Collin said in The Telegraph that a highlight of the film was how “the smallest might have the most lasting impact”, from the youthful soldiers to the “sparse and functional” dialogue. Without giving too much away, he suggested that the ending had hints of the director’s 2010 movie Inception and said: “It may be the single most haunting cut in Nolan’s filmography to date.”

Prince Harry meets Sir Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy as he attends the Dunkirk premiere in London (Eamonn M McCormack/PA)

:: Variety magazine’s Peter Debruge said the film had earned Nolan the accolade of the “definitive cinematic version” for that period in British war history. While he said that interweaving plot lines were “unnecessarily confusing” at some points, he credited “the intricate way they all fit together,” at the end.

:: According to a glowing summary by Empire magazine’s Nick De Semlyen, the film is: “Effectively one enormous, stunningly rendered and thunderously intense set-piece stretched to feature-length, Dunkirk thrusts you into a pressure cooker and slams the lid on.” Complimenting Nolan on the uncomplicated plot, he added: “He knows it’s more powerful to sell the hopelessness of the wind-blasted beach with a stark, simple image.”

:: The Metro morning newspaper again credited “great” singer-cum-actor Styles, promising prospective viewers that the film “will leave you on the edge of your seat.” In summary, Rebecca Lewis wrote: “The simplicity of the tick-tock works beautifully in Dunkirk and when that final tick rings out, you’re left remembering the millions of others whose stories never concluded.”

Dunkirk officially opens in UK cinemas on Friday.

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