“Dunkirk”: A visual masterpiece


Picture courtesy Dunkirk press package

I walked in to see “Dunkirk” feeling optimistic, excited to see a film that my friends had raved about. I walked out of “Dunkirk” feeling as though I, myself, had suffered the horrors of war. It captured emotion excellently.

“Dunkirk” takes place toward the end of WWII in Dunkirk, France. It follows young British soldiers through the gruesome tragedies of war. Separate plot lines of a pilot struck out of the sky, a group of soldiers departing Dunkirk, and a soldier who was being forced to return to Dunkirk, having escaped.

The soldier Alex was played by Harry Styles, the big name, former boy band member that was the sole purpose some saw “Dunkirk” at all, was displayed in no spectacular way. In fact, it took me awhile to differentiate between him and his other white, dark haired male costars. In my opinion, this was honorable and displayed integrity. It would have been easy to have Styles portray a heroic leading man, and have thousands of teenage girl throw down money and demand to see more. His character, however, was just as important, or unimportant, and just as flawed as anybody else in the movie.

Dialogue was used sparingly throughout “Dunkirk,” which helped the audience feel the same loneliness that the characters experienced. At the same time, this meant that whatever dialogue was used could not be a throwaway line. For the most part, this was achieved, but a few lines seemed to miss the mark. Specifically near the end, the writers seemed to sacrifice a few moments that would have been more dramatic in silence.

The true feature of interest was the visuals. Wide, sweeping landscapes, aerial shots and creative use of light was all utilized throughout “Dunkirk.” The imagery was mesmerizing, and is what I would describe as the most compelling reason to see “Dunkirk.”   

If you’re into history, “Dunkirk” provides a realistic and engaging portrayal of the events of WWII. Additionally, those interested in visual arts will appreciate “Dunkirk” as well, for the beauty of the shots of which it is composed. It’s rated PG 13, but the content may feel mature for someone as young as thirteen, because it depicts the tragedies of war very realistically.

Rating out of five stars: 4.9