Kevin Levine’s review published on Letterboxd:
Christopher Nolan does it again!
Dunkirk is quite possibly the most stress-inducing film I've ever seen. I got to see it on 70mm film, so I'm going to see it again soon in IMAX and compare the differences.
This film feels more real than any film I've ever seen. If I'm not mistaken, the only bits of CGI in the film were the scenes when we're in the planes with Tom Hardy and the other pilots. Everything else was real. The planes, the boats, the ships, the explosions, the "effects"...it was all real.
Everything about the movie adds to the stress of the film. The stress grabs you from the first second and never lets go until the credits begin rolling. A lot of people won't like the lack of characterization. You don't get backstory from the characters. You don't even get characters' names. That's a fair warning though, because the film isn't about the characters. This film is about the events. It's about the experiences and the war. It's about survival. I didn't feel sad (or any emotions) when anything happened to the characters, but I felt the stress and suspense the soldiers felt.
Hans Zimmer is a god. This is one of the best scores I've ever heard in a film. It may not have anything necessarily iconic such as the scores for Jaws, Superman, etc., but the score is pulse-pounding and sticks with you for the entire runtime.
My only knock against Dunkirk is that the first half of the film is practically non-narrative which is a style I've not been a fan of before. There is some dialogue in the first half of the film, but not much and that put me off a bit...until the second half of the film. The second half of the film is absolutely perfect in my eyes.
Christopher Nolan pulls out the non-linear film structure that he made popular with films such as Memento and The Prestige. Dunkirk is told in 3 parts - on land, on sea, and in air. The 3 parts have different timelines, but they all wrap up at the same point on the timeline. It's truly a wonderful structure once you understand what's going on.
I am thankful for the advance screening I was able to attend this past Tuesday; I just wanted to wait until it was officially Friday to post my review! I look forward to seeing this again ASAP in an IMAX theater.