“DUNKIRK”
Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan



Director & Writer: Christopher Nolan
Producers: Emma Thomas & Christopher Nolan
Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema
Editor: Lee Smith
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Run-time: 106 minutes


FILM SYNOPSIS: In the Spring of 1940, hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are trapped by German forces on the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. The terrain precludes the use of large ships, compelling the military to request that civilian boats join the rescue efforts. While soldiers endure attacks and wait in fear, the RAF provides cover for the hundreds of small boats sailing the 26 miles from Britain.


“Dunkirk” was originally my initial pick for Best Picture front-runner. Not only was it a well made war film by a prominent director, it took chances, like breaking the narrative up with different timelines under different durations. The film takes place on land, sea, and air, with the land timeline set over the course of a week, the sea timeline set over the course of a day, and the air timeline set over the course of a few hours. But the tension is built perfectly across all three timelines at the same time.

Initial props have to go to Christopher Nolan. Many pinpoint “Dunkirk” as his Oscar bait, but dig a little deeper and you see that this was actually a passion project of Nolan, who has an obsession with this particular time period and this evacuation in particular. Nolan has the vision to do these timelines and an ability to draw pure tension out of a story that could have easily just been set on the beach the entire film. Instead, we see every aspect of this portion of WWII, deriving action out of every possible angle. Nolan’s biggest competition is Guillermo Del Toro, who has been cleaning up every award as of late for directing “The Shape Of Water.” Both films are visionary works in much different ways yet del Toro’s is also a passion project. As much as Nolan deserves a win for his body of work alone, del Toro as all the buzz coming into this and with his movie pushing the creativity needle a little further than Nolan, I do think this is del Toro’s year, as he is also much deserving of a win.

Messing with different aspects, with the inclusion of many IMAX formatted scenes, the cinematography of “Dunkirk” is one of its biggest draws. As much as I want Roger Deakins to win for “Blade Runner 2049,” Hoyte van Hoytema and his work on “Dunkirk” are undeniable. Deakins is far overdue for a win, so my vote will be in his camp, but if anyone is going to give him a run for his money this year, it will be van Hoytema. As mentioned above, the other area that “Dunkirk” excels the most in is Best Film Editing, and again, as much as I’d like to see “Baby Driver” take that one, “Dunkirk” is delivered in such an interesting way, with those three timelines, I would be hard pressed to say that anything could be it in the end. Interlocked with that editing would have to be Hans Zimmer’s score, which applies the foot onto the throttle that builds the tension along the scenes. Even with a ticking clock added to the composition, the tension is built to perfection, with a rising and falling tide of music that matches the swell of the waves rolling onto the beach. Together, all three of these major elements play together. As far as competition goes in the Original Score category, Alexandre Desplat’s score for “The Shape Of Water” is the odds on favorite, which does offer a sort of whimsy to the film. But these two films will definitely be neck and neck in this category.

The production design in “Dunkirk” matches the period and offers everything you would hope for in a WWII film where fighting occurs. But when it comes to production design, I believe creativity lives supreme and “Blade Runner 2049” and “The Shape Of Water” both have the edge in that concern. “Dunkirk” and “Darkest Hour” live in a world that has already been created, so it simply (I know it’s not actually simple) comes down to recreating that time period, where as “Blade Runner 2049” and “The Shape Of Water” depend on creating an entirely new world that we, first of all, believe as our own, and secondly, become something all there own, showing us things in a way we have never seen them before. The production designers get to flourish here and to not award that is a crime, in my opinion. However, “Dunkirk” has a huge chance of a win in both the Sound categories. War films after reign supreme in those categories and the biggest impression “Dunkirk” left me after my first viewing in the theater upon its initial release was the above-and-beyond sound design. It lives and dies by the sound design, as the eerie incoming bombers will haunt your nightmares after this film. There are planes flying, boats driving, explosions on land, sea, and air, and of course, one of my favorite scenes in the movie where a bunch of soldiers are in a boat waiting for it to get caught back by the tide when bullets start piercing the side of the hull. Every single bullet startles you, even though you know they are coming, but it just goes to show that every single bullet counts and in war, where a single bullet could end your life, that is a huge thing for a war film to get across with its sound design. Its biggest competition is likely “Baby Driver” or “Blade Runner 2049,” but at the moment, “Dunkirk” is the odds on favorite to win both categories.

Can “Dunkirk” still win Best Picture even though it hasn’t had much steam behind it? Absolutely. Never underestimate the Academy’s love for Christopher Nolan. However, without any acting nominations and no screenplay nomination, it does have quite a battle in front of it. Also, the Academy has been steering to smaller films winning Best Picture, as opposed to big blockbusters, which this technically falls under. That means that films like “The Shape Of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and even “Get Out” for that matter stand a little bit better chance. There’s also the case that there are no black characters and minimal female characters. Yes, they do not fit in the story per se. But with the “Oscars So White” not that far behind us and the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” initiatives in full swing, it would be easy for the Academy to steer away from “Dunkirk,” in order to give “Get Out” or “Lady Bird” a shot.


PREVIOUS NOMINATIONS

EMMA THOMAS
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2010 (83rd) “Inception” Nominated Best Picture (Producer)



CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
Director


CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2001 (74th) “Memento” Nominated Best Original Screenplay
2010 (83rd) “Inception” Nominated Best Picture (Producer)
Nominated Best Original Screenplay



HOYTE VAN HOYTEMA
Cinematographer


HOYTE VAN HOYTEMA
NONE



LEE SMITH
Editor


LEE SMITH
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2003 (76th) “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” Nominated Best Film Editing
2008 (81st) “The Dark Knight” Nominated Best Film Editing



HANS ZIMMER
Composer


HANS ZIMMER
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
1988 (61st) “Rain Man” Nominated Best Original Score
1994 (67th) “The Lion King” Won Best Original Score
1996 (69th) “The Preacher’s Wife” Nominated Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
1997 (70th) “As Good As It Gets” Nominated Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
1998 (71st) “The Thin Red Line” Nominated Best Dramatic Score
“The Prince Of Egypt” Nominated Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
2000 (73rd) “Gladiator” Nominated Best Original Score
2009 (82nd) “Sherlock Holmes” Nominated Best Original Score
2010 (83rd) “Inception” Nominated Best Original Score
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Original Score



NATHAN CROWLEY & GARY FETTIS
Production Designer / Art Director


NATHAN CROWLEY
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2006 (79th) “The Prestige” Nominated Best Art Direction
2008 (81st) “The Dark Knight” Nominated Best Art Direction
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Production Design
GARY FETTIS
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
1990 (63rd) “The Godfather, Part III” Nominated Best Art Direction
2008 (81st) “Changeling” Nominated Best Art Direction
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Production Design



RICHARD KING & ALEX GIBSON
Sound Editors


RICHARD KING
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2003 (76th) ” Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” Won Best Sound Editing
2005 (78th) “War Of The Worlds” Nominated Best Sound Editing
2008 (81st) “The Dark Knight” Won Best Sound Editing
2010 (83rd) “Inception” Won Best Sound Editing
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Sound Editing
ALEX GIBSON
NONE



GREGG LANDAKER, GARY A. RIZZO, & MARK WEINGARTEN
Sound Mixers


GREGG LANDAKER
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
1980 (53rd) “The Empire Strikes Back” Won Best Sound
1981 (54th) “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” Won Best Sound
1991 (64th) “JFK” Nominated Best Sound
1994 (67th) “Speed” Won Best Sound
1995 (68th) “Waterworld” Nominated Best Sound
1996 (69th) “Twister” Nominated Best Sound
2000 (73rd) “U-571” Nominated Best Sound
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Sound Mixing
GARY A. RIZZO
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2004 (77th) “The Incredibles” Nominated Best Sound Mixing
2008 (81st) “The Dark Knight” Nominated Best Sound Mixing
2010 (83rd) “Inception” Won Best Sound
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Sound Mixing
MARK WEINGARTEN
2008 (81st) ” The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Nominated Best Sound Mixing
2010 (83rd) “The Social Network” Nominated Best Sound Mixing
2014 (87th) “Interstellar” Nominated Best Sound Mixing



4K BLU-RAY

VIEWED: Monday
February 26th, 2018

6

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Films Left Days Left

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