Script by Noel T. Manning II
Darkest Hour & Dunkirk – Favorite Double feature of the year (WWII style):
Gary Oldman offered a stunning, powerful and emotionally physical performance as Winston Churchill in the “Darkest Hour.” He was commanding, humorous, and honestly mesmerizing at times. This biopic of an unlikely leader taking the reins as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister during one of England’s most challenging (and darkest) times offered amazing cinematography with pure “wow” moments, brilliant dialogue adapted by Anthony McCarter, a beautiful and moving musical score (from Italian composer Dario Marianelli) and seamlessly intentional direction and editing forcing viewers to focus on visuals, shot selections and facial expressions at times to paint a story of uncertain times and life-altering choices. Honestly, some scenes were so powerful, that my jaw dropped, and I was speechless. At the heart of this “A-rated” film, we realize that our imperfections, doubts, and fears make us human, and many times those are the things that feed into our strengths.
While watching this film, you’ll go into the war room with Churchill as “Operation Dynamo” is underway, and we find that over four hundred thousand British, Belgian & French soldiers are trapped on the coast of the French port of Dunkirk, and are massively overmatched by Germans on all sides; defeat seems imminent. It is up to a civilian rescue crew to slide under the radar if European Allied Forces have a chance at surviving this war. Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” explores this miracle and “Hail Mary” of a strategy that was unbelievable, unimaginable and bordering on crazy.
Nolan’s non-linear storytelling techniques here offer three different perspectives of this battle (air, land and sea) and is compete with compelling editing, stunning cinematography, and intense and disorienting music and sound design that supports feelings of fear, the unknown, claustrophobia, hopelessness, dread, and doom. I found myself holding my breath during certain scenes wondering how many soldiers (if any) would find a way to survive. Hans Zimmer provided a score that incorporated sounds of a ticking clock representing the enemy of time; this was perfectly executed. This visual feast that offered well-executed non-dialogue driven scenes also was rounded out with a solid cast. Dunkirk earned an “A” rating.