Since this is the first installment of Honest Reviews, it probably needs an explanation.
I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. I interview actors and filmmakers. I’ve worked in broadcast television for 20 years.
I’m also a Seattle wife and mom who works full-time and sits in an hour of traffic (minimum) every day.
Sometimes I’m tired when I screen a movie. Sometimes I’m traveling and I miss my kids. Sometimes I’ve had a cocktail when I should have had a glass of water.
All of these things can impact my reaction to a film. Because I’m human.
So in an effort to write Honest Reviews, I’ll cop to the external factors that might have altered my enjoyment or perception of the movie. Then, I’ll give you my review. Then, you can decide if it’s useful or not.
With that, here’s my review of Dunkirk.
FOOD/DRINK BEFORE SCREENING: Quinoa salad, side of fries and half a glass of wine
MOOD: Rested and happy
EXPECTATION OF MOVIE: High
Before the screening, I read about the Battle of Dunkirk to understand the film’s backstory. This proved to be helpful, because the film doesn’t give much context.
From the first frame, it’s relentlessly suspenseful. The fighting scenes are intense but not gory or gratuitous. Writer/Director Christopher Nolan did an astonishing job of making it feel both real and epic.
Newcomer Fionn Whitehead and Oscar winner Mark Rylance gave standout performances, and despite my reservations I have to admit, Harry Styles is believable and compelling.
I don’t usually pay much attention to movie’s scores, but this one is impossible to ignore. It’s like a starring character, driving the tension and ramping up the action sequences.
One small complaint: the dialogue is limited, and was sometimes difficult for this American to understand. The actor’s accents are thick and compete with the score, gunfire, aircraft, etc.
But that's my only complaint.
Dunkirk is only 1 hour 47 minutes long, but I felt exhausted by the end – in a good way. It’s a stunning cinematic experience best viewed in a 70mm theater (if there’s one near you.)
What do you think of Honest Review or Dunkirk? Let me know at @kimholcomb.