Dunkirk – Review

The evacuation of Dunkirk was not only somewhat a miracle, but also one of Britain’s biggest achievements within the War. Over 300,000 men were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk; with the British, French and Belgian army surrounded by German Nazi troops, a successful evacuation seemed near impossible. Christopher Nolan has showcased here a project which allows us to lose focus of the enemies for once, and pay attention to the real heroes at hand.

The film is simple; simply get the men across the channel to safety. Firstly, we should acknowledge there really is not a lead role in this film. So whether you are assuming Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance or even Harry Styles is the main actor from the trailers you have watched, you could not be more wrong; to be fair, Harry Styles probably speaks more than Tom Hardy in this film. Nolan has purposely done this, the film is split into three narratives; land, air and sea. You have the young soldier Tommy (Fionn Whithead) on the land, Farrier (Tom Hardy) in the sky with RAF and Dawson (Rylance) on sea, and each man has a different purpose. Tommy’s journey is spanned over a week in the film, Dawson’s is a day and Farrier’s is an hour, nevertheless the screen-time for each character is almost equal.

If you are looking for a war film which portrays the military combat and gore, you are looking in the wrong place. Dunkirk is deeper than that; the film shows the efforts and technicality of the British army escaping an almost impossible situation. A sense of hope is transcended through the screens; when you are able to see your homeland from across the channel, nothing less is expected. A personal favourite aspect of directing used in the film is the fact that no awareness is placed on our enemies throughout the 1hour 45minutes of screen time. The fact I have even said “ours” is a result of Christopher Nolan’s attempts on giving all the credit to Britain and their allies, and not allowing the German Nazi’s to even have a say in this – patriotism at its finest.

With such little dialogue throughout the film, it is the perfect opportunity to fill the silence with tense Hans Zimmer soundtracks, which Nolan has executed brilliantly. Similar to the Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan has deliberately created scenes tailored for Zimmer’s compositions; as seen from the get-go of the film in the opening scene, a feature you do not want to miss out on with surround sound.

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Burnt – Review

Sceptical is probably the right word to describe my thoughts when going in to watch this film. Cooper’s latest project where he is seen in the lead role has received a lot of negative reviews from the likes of Empire, Rotten Tomatoes and The Guardian, so it was more of curiosity rather than temptation which drew me towards this film.

Immersing himself on the London restaurant scene after his failures in Paris a couple years back; Bradley Cooper stars as Adam Jones, a chef trying to regain the respect he once had amongst his peers. Jones’ character portrays one of a recovering junkie and a career-driven individual.

To my surprise, this film seemed to be exceptionally executed. I think if you go with the mindset of how cool Cooper is as an individual, it will make it easier for you to like this film. Yeah sure, Cooper’s character is an arrogant prick that throws food at his workers and lays his hands on women – but he’s a character that grows on you. In the back of your mind, you’re subliminally taught that Adam Jones is one of the best chefs in the World and with his end goal being to achieve a third Michelin Star, you as the audience want him to achieve that. So on one hand you have Bradley Cooper, an egotistic and nearly angry the entire time chef, and then on the other you have the beautiful blonde that is Sienna Miller. Sienna Miller stars as Helene, Adam Jones’s sous-chef. Helene provides this film with the balance needed, John Wells, the director, has somewhat made her the angel of the film to battle Jones’ devilish ways. Of course with a narcissistic person like Adam Jones, you need someone to tame him, and that is exactly what Sienna Miller’s role is in this film. As a single mother looking to provide for her daughter and always aspiring to better herself as a chef, Helene seeks for Jones’ guidance.

I think what caught my eye in this film is the ambition portrayed by Bradley Cooper, there are moments in this film where his anger and career-driven motives are showcased exceptionally well, and it is something seen in Cooper before in films such as Silver Linings Playbook. It is a moment where you actually feel inspired yourself to do something and that is what Cooper has done very well to try and connect his character with the audience. There are scenes of silence where you can feel the tension come through your screens before they are broken with smashing of plates. John Wells engrosses you well with this film, it is a journey of a recovering chef who wants to do well, and at the end of the day you want him to win.

Despite the reviews given on this film, it definitely deserves a watch.

Spotlight – Review

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer give us the true story of how the Boston Globe unravelled the secrets of the Catholic Church associated with child abuse. This powerful drama which won the Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards shares with us a controversial yet gripping drama. Throughout the recent years, the outbreak of news linked with Roman Catholic priests, abusing and raping children is simply deplorable; Spotlight shines a light on this matter and shows the audience the Spotlight team; part of the Boston Globe, who spent months investigating and breaking barriers just to get this news to the public.

Arguably, the grooming of children by the Catholic Church had been happening many years before the outbreak of the Boston Globe’s article in 2002, but it took a non-Catholic and a non-Bostonian to become the editor of the Boston Globe (Liev Schreiber plays the editor Marty Baron) and persuade the journalists to go after this specific story. Schreiber is portrayed as a stern editor, showcased by incredible talent, supported by the sublime cast that accompanied him on screen. The Spotlight team is led by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) who is well respected within Boston who networks with half of Boston’s big-shots over golf and charity dinners. His team includes reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), Ruffalo in particular puts in an amazing shift as a temperamental reporter purely ardent for the story his team are chasing.

The main problem they encountered in this film was the fact that Boston was primarily a heavily populated Catholic city; going after a story as scandalous as this was not going to go down well not just with the Catholic Church in Boston, but also every other Catholic priest in the world leading up to the Vatican; the Spotlight team soon gathered that after finding out 87 priests in Boston were connected to child abuse, their story was not only going to shake their city, but the rest of the country and other nations. The Spotlight team’s breaking article in 2002 subsequently led to other states in the United States and other countries exposing countless number of child abuse reports, which consequently placed a spotlight on the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church – the Vatican.

This film does not just place concentration on the child abuse scandal, but also the relentless groundbreaking investigations reporters carry out to break stories such as the one shown in Spotlight. Yes, this film may lack a slice of enthusiasm and excitement, but it provides us with a riveting crime drama that makes you appreciate the art of journalism more than you did before you watched it. Definitely an Oscar-worthy picture.