As you may know at this point, I have a movie-reviewing segment on my good friend John Lund’s sports radio show The Bridge called “Five Minutes in the Film Room.” During college, we spent so much time working together as co-sports editors for the school newspaper, The Aquinas, at the University of Scranton as well as the John and Joe Sports Show on WUSR, we became known as LundandBaress. Even when our professor talked about us to her husband, he thought we were one person named Lundin Baress. So it’s good to team up again five years later. Definitely check out his show. He interviews a lot of great guests. As a Packer fan, my favorite was his chat with the great Jerry Kramer. He also sprinkles in other segments, including my favorite, “Good try, good effort.”
The Bridge is broadcast as a one-hour radio show every Wednesday night at 7 ET on Sports Radio America. After the live broadcast, the show is released as a podcast on iTunes and at lundinbridge.com on Friday. You can listen to the live show every Wednesday on Sports Radio America here or through the TuneIn app.
I will post these at some point after the show airs (probably around a week later) just to have a place to archive it on the blog. Here is the transcript of my review, which aired Aug. 2 on Episode 77 of The Bridge.
What’s up everybody? I’m Joe Baress, and THIS is “Five Minutes in the Film Room.”
One of the most innovative directors today and the mind behind Inception, Interstellar and Memento, Christopher Nolan earned notoriety with The Dark Knight Trilogy.
This week, we’ll look at his most recent work, Dunkirk…let’s go to the tape.
While his movies usually involve supernatural events or superhuman characters rooted in reality, Dunkirk deals with history…specifically the evacuation of British and French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, across the English Channel in the early stages of World War II. And one thing remains the same, all of his movies are very good. Dunkirk is no different.
Nolan creates a beautifully shot war film that shows reverence to those who fought in and were affected by the battle. To put it simply, Dunkirk is everything Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor wasn’t. He avoids glamor shots, a convoluted love story and blood to focus on the battle. And when I say the battle, Nolan drops you right into France in the middle of the war and it never stops. He follows three storylines of a soldier trying to get off the beach, an Air Force pilot trying to do what he can from the sky and a father, son and 17-year-old boy trying to make a difference from the sea.
The cinematography is amazing as the dog fights between the British Royal Air Force, specifically Tom Hardy’s character, and the Nazi pilots are the most realistic I’ve seen. The actors look as though they can actually fly planes, unlike — again — Pearl Harbor when Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett look like they’re playing a video game. Hardy gives a great performance especially considering he does most of his acting with just his eyes … (BANE VOICE) Although we know he’s had experience with this in the past.
Speaking of acting talent, Academy Award winner Mark Rylance shines again along with Kenneth Branaugh and Cillian Murphy. The relatively unknown, Fionn Whitehead looks like a seasoned veteran, while even Harry Styles “lights up our world.”
Nolan continues to respect the audience’s intelligence by not explaining everything through dialogue and instead just showing us. We are not stupid. Show us. Don’t tell us. Trust us. The physical acting and facial expressions were all the film needed.
I saw the movie on a standard screen, but heard IMAX is the way to go when seeing it. Upon further review, IMAX brings you exactly what you would expect. Bigger screen, bigger explosions, but don’t worry. Standard definition is still a great experience. And as with most Nolan films, seeing the movie a second time allowed me to pick up on things that I missed. Some things you could only pick up on with a second viewing.
As great as the film was, it’s not without flaw. Nolan’s movies have struggled when it comes to dialogue. Not the script. Literally hearing it. I struggled at points. His previous two films also have problems with this. Tom Hardy’s Bane needed to be re-dubbed shortly before the release of The Dark Knight Rises. In Interstellar, the score sometimes drowned out what characters were saying. Dunkirk was much of the same.
Also, for a movie grounded in realism, it had just a couple unrealistic scenes. Finally, it ended a bit too quickly for me, but maybe that’s because I was on the edge of my seat for the entire 1 hour, 47 minutes run time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Dunkirk is a great war film that isn’t quite as perfect as it was hyped up to be. But it’s pretty damn close and adds to the illustrious roster of movies among Nolan’s stellar collection.
I’ll rank it as a home run. Not quite an Aaron Judge blast, but it certainly leaves the park.
If you’re interested in more Christopher Nolan films, check out cup of dash Joe dot com where I rank his best films from 1 to 10.
Thanks to my good friend, John, for having me on The Bridge. Back to you.