Dunkirk ***

IT has gathered a lot of critical acclaim – as well as doing very good business at the box office – but I found writer/director Christopher Nolan’s would-be epic film on the evacuation of more than 300,000 British soldiers from the beaches of France, under the nose of a conquering German army, disappointing.

The cinematography is impressive, but there is nothing especially innovative about Nolan’s direction. There are three narrative threads – on land, on sea, and in the air – which weave together in a non-chronological way. But there is nothing original in this narrative juxtapositioning and time looping.

There is little dialogue, beyond a few explanatory exchanges between Army and Navy officers organising the evacuation. Despite a cast that includes the likes of James D’Arcy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy, the actors are not called on to do very much. This is the director’s film, not theirs. More’s the pity.

Verdict: sadly misfiring on land, sea and air.

 

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