Dec 152017

Dunkirk might not be Christopher Nolan’s strongest film, and given the subject it really should have been, and although it didn’t connect to me on an emotional level, both in terms of characters or suspense-thriller aspects, it is still a technically well made film worth watching.




Genre(s): War, Drama, Action
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 107 min. – $44.95 | December 19, 2017

Date Published: 12/15/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Writer(s): Christopher Nolan (written by)
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3
Audio (4K/BD): English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Dutch (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.20 & 1.78 (IMAX Sequences)
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.20 & 1.78 (IMAX Sequences)
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors working today. From his Insomnia, the Batman Trilogy, Inception and more recently, Interstellar, these were damn good movies and Dunkirk is another solid entry on his impressive resume. However, I didn’t think, considering the subject, it was as impactful as it could have been and lacked that emotional punch I expected (for comparison, I got more from that short sequence in Atonement).

In case you’re not familiar with the story behind the “Battle of Dunkirk”, put simply 400,000 British (and Allied) soldiers were stranded on a beach surrounded by German forces, staved only off on the ground by an armed perimeter, but faced firepower from the sky. The plot in the movie unfolds on land, sea and air. Royal Air Force Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenseless men below. Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military officers and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save even a fraction of their army.

One of the drawbacks of Dunkirk was the lack of much of any emotional connection with these characters. In the air, we follow ace pilots Farrier (TOM HARDY) and Collins (JACK LOWDEN) as they must both avoid being fired upon and take down those German planes; On the beach, there’s Tommy (FIONN WHITEHEAD) and Gibson (ANEURIN BARNARD), two British soldiers, new to the scene, just trying to stay alive and get out anyway they can; and finally, on the sea we follow Mr. Dawson (JAMES D’ARCY), his son Peter (TOM GLYNN-CARNEY) and young boy George (BARRY KEOGHAN) who just wants to help, on the way they rescue a man (CILLIAN MURPHY) stranded in the Channel.

It’s not that any of these actors gave poor performances, in fact Tom Hardy, once again mostly wearing a mask, was quite good in the limited role, but without knowing a thing about them, I couldn’t have cared all that much for what happened to them. It’s telling that I had more emotion seeing the short, one-shot, sequence in Atonement than I did with Dunkirk.

The second problem I had, and the biggest one keeping this from being something epic, was the editing. Yes, Christopher Nolan is known for non-linear filmmaking but in this case, not only does he cut back and forth on the three fronts (land, sea and air) but he places certain scenes out of order to the point where it kind of took away from the thrills and in fact impacted the overall pacing. Take for instance, there’s a scene when the civilian boat rescues a group of men covered in oil, we then cut to how those men got in the water. I don’t know, that kind of editing really hurt the film.

Third thing, and this is a bit minor, Hans Zimmer’s score at times didn’t seem to fit. I generally love Zimmer’s work, everything from Gladiator, Interstellar, The Dark Knight and even Inception, was fantastic, I can’t say anything here really stood out.

Okay, so with the bad out of the way, what did work was that it’s an efficiently effective film. Clocking in at only about 100-minutes without credits, Nolan is laser-focused on the central narrative and that is, survival. He doesn’t stray from that and muddle it with over-characterizations or spending time expanding on whoever they have waiting at home and whatnot and instead on the dire situation at hand and not only the steps taken to rescue the men, but what was at stake in terms of the war.

Dunkirk on a technical level is truly marvelous. Nolan’s usage of, as much as possible, practical effects really gives this film a more realistic feel and in that respect, kept me engaged throughout in spite of lackluster characters. Of course, I do have a respect and fascination for anything to do with World War II so a movie like this captured my attention.



This release comes with a glossy slip cover, inside is a Digital HD copy redemption code.

There is an extensive 5-part Making-of (1:49:46; HD) documentary — Creation, Land, Air, Sea and Conclusion — detailing the origins from Christopher Nolan and filming the various storylines. Includes interviews, some on-location, with the cast and crew and production stills.


4K VIDEO – 3.5/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5

Dunkirk arrives on 4K and Blu-ray presented in both 2.20 and, for IMAX sequences, 1.78 widescreen aspect ratios and a 2160p high-definition transfer (1080p for BD). This is a brilliant looking transfer, detail is generally exceptionally sharp, and colors are nice but thankfully not artificially ramped up (courtesy of HDR). I didn’t notice any instances of banding, so there is fine transition like in the sky.

AUDIO – 5.0/5

I was initially confused, and even concerned, that both the 4K and BD only included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks instead of DTS:X, Atmos or even 7.1 channels, but those concerns were eliminated once the war-action begins and my oh my does it sound amazing. The depth is absolutely incredible from the gunfire, bombs landing, planes engaged in action and more. The LFE channel does kick for that extra measure that will make your home theater come to life.


OVERALL – 4.25/5

Overall, Dunkirk might not be Christopher Nolan’s strongest film, and given the subject it really should have been, and although it didn’t connect to me on an emotional level, both in terms of characters or suspense-thriller aspects, it is still a technically well made film worth watching. This 4K release from Warner does offer up excellent video and audio transfers and a very nice making-of documentary.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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