For the title Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan is sticking to many parts of the formula that have made him an imposing filmmaker. From the dedication to shooting in IMAX to the casting of ensemble British talent, the director knows what he wants from a blockbuster.
But the World War II time period action drama is also a shift. Rather than his epic 150 to 180-minute extravaganza's that push the boundaries of the spectacle and the audience's attention, this 106-minute biographical picture is a condensed exploration of a crucial battle that would have a significant impact on the fate of the world.
Those critics who have been given an early view cannot speak highly enough of their experience. Here is what they had to say shortly after leaving the special screenings.
A 2017 Hit That is Unlike Anything Else
Kara Warner of People Magazine started off with universal praise.
"#DunkirkMovie is great," she wrote. "Beautiful, heart-pounding action sequences, a killer score, solid acting talent & handsome. A great history lesson. And my Tom Hardy bias is strong but hot damn, Mr. Nolan knows how to light our man in the best, that-is-a-goddam-hero, fashion."
Jason Guerrasio from Business Insider followed suit.
"#Dunkirk packs a wallop but VERY different Nolan movie. Def see on IMAX. Tom Hardy has 10 lines & is amazing. Harry Styles can act people!!!"
Frosty at Collider would offer more detail and urged moviegoers not to see it in plain 2D format.
"Dunkirk is edge of your seat filmmaking that’s fully realized in @IMAX. Can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. See this in IMAX! A lot of people were wondering about @harry_styles & unknown cast. They’re all great but Dunkirk is not about any one solider. Also Dunkirk is another brilliant collaboration between Nolan & @HansZimmer. The way he mixes in a ticking clock with score is nail biting. Let me say this one more time: if you’re going to see Dunkirk go to an @IMAX theater. Look for IMAX 70mm. It’s absolutely worth the $."
Chris Nolan Confirmed As A 21st Century Great
Bustle's Anna Klassen argued that even history buffs who know the story inside out will get a thrill from this ride.
"DUNKIRK is fantastic. Truly thrilling from first to last second. A heartbreaking, heart-pounding, nail-biting offering. Nolan fans, rejoice. DUNKIRK relies on v little dialogue, but is entirely impactful. We all know what happened on that beach, but Nolan’s take is worth visiting. Yes, DUNKIRK relies heavily on sound of an increasingly fast ticking clock to build suspense. It may be a cheap trick, but it’s effective AF. And for those asking: Harry Styles does well in DUNKIRK, was pleasantly surprised."
Fandango editor Erik Davis says that the action hits you from the opening minute and does not relent.
“(It) is chaotic, relentless, thrilling & one of the most captivating movies you will see this year. A master class in craft. What a ride. 30 seconds in, Nolan once again delivers a spectacular edge-of-your-seat opening sequence. And then it just keeps upping the tension... From direction to editing to cinematography to score, w/(Dunkirk) Christopher Nolan proves he is one of the great filmmakers of our time."
Critic Kevin McCarthy summarizes with a special mention for composer Hans Zimmer, an artist who has enjoyed a long relationship with Nolan spanning through his Dark Knight franchise.
"DUNKIRK is 1 of the most immersive cinematic experiences I’ve ever had. Around 75% of DUNKIRK was shot on IMAX film. Other scenes shot on glorious 65mm film. Zimmer’s score is the leading character of the film. Mind-blowing non-linear storytelling. See 70mm IMAX film if u can."
Dunkirk opens on July 21.