I already knew Dunkirk was going to be an intense experience upon seeing the short but powerful teaser trailer in theaters. Once it piqued my interest, I read up on it and noticed how director Christopher Nolan wanted to make a war film with as little dialogue and backstory as possible, which made me want to see it even more. Finally my chance has arrived with the 4K UHD with HDR Blu-ray that allowed me to see this near perfect film in the most perfect way possible at home, and I can attest it lives up to the hype of being one of the year’s best films and one of the most intense war movies you’ll see.
Chris Pandolfi had the pleasure of seeing this in theaters earlier this year and you can check out his review for all of the main plot details and such. This leaves me free to share my thoughts on the film, the special features, etc. The first thing I noticed about this movie is how it pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the final scene plays. I haven’t seen a film do that in quite some time, and it truly makes you appreciate the power of cinema when it’s used properly like this. As I mentioned earlier, Nolan has kept dialogue to a minimum as with the character’s stories to speed up the process of diving into the movie and it’s terrifying look into some of what happened in 1940 Dunkirk. It reminded me a lot of what he did with Heath Ledger’s Joker from his The Dark Knight movie, as instead of worrying about where he came from, who he was really, etc., you’re forced to deal with the fact he’s a danger to be dealt with right now and that’s all that matters. The same goes for this film, as Nolan takes various characters from various times during the war and has them all crossing paths at some point as they do their best to survive and help others as best they can. While there’s plenty of people getting shot, bombed, and such as in most war pieces, the true terror comes from Nolan not showing the Germans nearly at all throughout the movie (I only saw German planes that Tom Hardy’s character chased/shot down). So most times when there’s an attack, it’s like the bullets and bombs are coming out of nowhere, which is how the soldiers being attacked must’ve felt I’m sure.
I know I say this a lot in my reviews, but truly watching this in 4K made this experience all the more memorable thanks to the HDR colors and ultra high definition visuals and audio. All of these elements come together perfectly to place you right in the middle of the action and horror that’ll make you duck for cover (the loud gunfire and bomb sounds literally made me jump a few times) and cheer for the characters as they make their way through one impossible situation after another. After the feels of watching an epic film wash over you, there’s a nice amount of special features you can take a look at that go into how this masterpiece came to be. “Creation” goes into Nolan came up with his vision of Dunkirk, his Hitchcock-like style he brought to film, visiting actual sites in Dunkirk and more. “Land” focuses on the The Mole scenes and filming while also covering the events happening at the beach, building the sets there and loads more. “Air” is probably one of the more epic features here as you get to see how they filmed the dogfights of Tom Hardy’s character using little special effects and actually mounting IMAX cameras on real classic fighter planes. “Sea” goes into the intense battleship bombings and Mark Rylance’s character doing his best to get through the battles to help the allied soldiers. This extra is nearly as epic as the Air one and has a lot of fascinating details on how the movie was made. Finally there’s “Conclusion” that goes into how all the parts come together to make this epic, and one of my favorite parts of the film, the truly intense score by Hans Zimmer. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie where the music/score was like a character in itself, and that’s exactly what Zimmer pulled off here as his pieces combined with the visceral visuals makes viewers feel the fear the soldiers felt when attacks take place and will have you feeling that way long after the movie ends.
I could go on and on about how epic Dunkirk is, but it’s something you have to experience yourself. And I really do mean experience, because that’s exactly what it is in every sense of the word as it transcends film and is a key example of what the power of cinema is capable of when used correctly. Intense characters, visuals, and audio come together like never before thanks to 4K UHD with HDR and Dolby HD sound which places viewers right in the middle of the fear, making this a must have for any movie lover’s collection as it’s easily one of the year’s best movies and one of the best I’ve ever seen.