Movie Review: ‘Dunkirk’

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A still from Dunkirk.

Writer-director Christopher Nolan has created some of the most memorable cinematic moments: the effect of the near-permanent daylight on a LA detective in Insomnia; the slippage of time between places created by a wormhole in Interstellar; the three-action-sequences-at-once in Inception; and the backwards in time unwinding of the plot of Memento. What these all have in common is a concern with time and how it functions—through the duration of a film, on the characters, and on the audience.

Though I have come to think of Nolan’s films as having great ideas, if not always satisfactory stories (the love conquers time as central to the plot of Interstellar, for example, felt like a let down), I was still eager to see Dunkirk. That the film’s running time was an hour less than Interstellar also helped.

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Review: Pre-judging the movie Interstellar

Epic.

Epic.

This post is part of Sci-Fi November, which you can read all about here.

I haven’t seen “Interstellar” yet, but I have seen the teaser trailer, the official trailer, TV commercials and some feature stories in the NY Times, so I’ve been given an impression of the film and know it will have moments of sheer transcendental brilliance, and it will be an overlong, bloated slog that will leaving me feeling dissatisfied.

Here’s my Half-Baked Theory on Movies Directed by Christopher Nolan: the shorter the running time the greater the satisfaction.

Case in point: “The Dark Knight” (clocking in at 152 minutes was a thrill ride, until it had to go and not end and follow through with the Harvey Dent / Two Face story). Thus it ranks as one of his least satisfying movies. “The Dark Knight Rises,” which is 13 minutes longer, is proportionally more dissatisfying: so much great spectacle (Hines Ward running as the football field behind him collapses? Wow!) and then so many stupid fist fights – FIST FIGHTS!?!?

Of course, I just came up with that theory off the top of my head, but the lengths of Christopher Nolan’s movies aren’t something that I alone am interested in. Peter Sciretta over that the Slash Film website even created this chart (URL for the chart is here):

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