InStyle's digital editor was blown away but Christopher Nolan's first world war movie and it wasn't just because of Harry Styles.
Dunkirk finally arrives on our shores on Friday 21st July at long, long, last. It feels like a lifetime ago since the Internet first erupted over Harry Styles’ acting debut and the resulting hair cut that left the social media sphere in complete meltdown. But, with a cast of talented actors, including Cannes Film Festival’s break-out star Barry Keoghan and Oscar-winner Mark Rylance, this is a story about more than one soldier. I have to admit I'm more of a Pretty Woman/Moulin Rouge type of girl but was lucky enough to be invited to a preview screening of Dunkirk at the BFI IMAX in London. My verdict: I loved it. Here's why.
Expect unrelenting tension
From start to finish there isn’t a minute’s respite. With each gun battle, torpedo attack, aerial bombing and explosion, there's end-to-end action which is in equal parts gripping, thrilling and stunning. Expect your heart to hammer for the entire 107 minutes.
But there's no gratuitous gore
My main problem with war movies is the gore. Blood, organs spilling everywhere, limbs blown off; all an accurate depiction of war but just so awful to watch. There’s hardly a drop of visible blood spilled in Dunkirk but it is still one of the most brutal and powerful war films I’ve ever seen.
The soundtrack is the star
Hans Zimmer, the man responsible for the musical scores of movies like The Lion King, 12 Years A Slave, Inception, Interstellar, Gladiator, The Dark Knight, Pearl Harbour, The Holiday, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hidden Figures - basically any movie soundtrack of the last twenty years - provides the searing and powerful musical backing to this Christopher Nolan epic. Maybe Zimmer's best work ever.
It's totally immersive
For the entirety of the 107 minutes, I didn’t hear a cough, sniff, barely an intake of breath from my fellow captivated cinema-goers. Nolan’s Dunkirk will suck you in and spit you back out - in the best way.
Harry did good
So, the question you’re all asking: can Harry Styles act? Yes, this One Directioner can. The sure sign of any good actor? I completely forgot it was him after a few minutes. But he wasn’t the star of the film, in fact, not one of the a-list cast was. Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Lowden and Fionn Whitehead all gave outstanding performances but it was an ensemble effort with the action (and music) taking centre stage.
There's definitely no cheese
What was so brilliant about this war movie, as opposed to other blockbuster war movies, was the lack of any cheesy back story. There was no handsome soldier trying to get home to his childhood sweetheart, no lieutenant attempting to rescue a long-lost brother, no young boys crying for their mums, no romance - just a lot of actual war. The film was all the more real and heartbreaking for it.
Go watch on Friday if you can, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is an unrelenting, unmissable, cinematic masterpiece. A 2017 must-watch.
Want to read more? Early reviews started to leak onto the interweb following the Dunkirk World Premiere in London last week with many saying that Harry’s performance is ‘great’ and that the movie itself is ‘edge of your seat film-making’ as audiences trace the tracks of a series of British and Allied soldiers attempting to make their way home under intense enemy attack in 1940.
Reviews On Harry Style’s Acting Debut…
Speaking about bringing the world’s most famous teen-poppers to the big screen Dunkirk’s director, Christopher Nolan compared casting Harry to casting Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
“As a director, I have to trust my instincts, my ability to figure out who’s the right guy for the part. I’m not too worried about baggage,” Nolan told Entertainment Tonight. “I was new to Harry. I mean, I’ve heard his name from my kids, but I wasn’t really familiar with him… What I was seeing [when he auditioned] was a very charismatic guy who clearly had a truthfulness and a subtlety in his ability to perform as a film actor.”
He continued: “When I cast Heath Ledger as the Joker [in The Dark Knight], it raised a lot of eyebrows and caused a lot of comment. I have to trust my instincts, and Harry was perfect for this part.” It appears, if the early reviews are anything to go by, that the gamble has more than worked…
Reviews On Dunkirk The Movie
Anyone expecting hours of Harry Styles talking about his character’s plight will be disappointed as early indications show that the film is a fully-fledged action movie rather than a rolling drama. The story unfolds across land, sea and air, building the suspense as the action unfolds. According to early whisperings, Tom Hardy who plays a fighter pilot is reduced to just ten lines.
Reviews On Dunkirk’s Score
No action movie is complete without an epic score and Christopher Nolan has once again teamed up with the infamous Hans Zimmer following the success of their collaboration for The Dark Knight Rises. Given the lack of dialogue some are calling the score the “leading character in the film.”
And If You Go And See It, Make Sure You Go Big Or Go Home...
With so many intense layers of action seeing the film in IMAX over a postage stamp airline TV screen also comes highly recommended…
Dunkirk is released in the UK on Friday 21st July