‘Dunkirk’ is a brilliant film, though it may not be Nolan’s greatest.

dunkirk-poster.jpg‘Dunkirk’ tells the story of the allied soldier’s from Belgium, the British Empire, and France who are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

One of the best writer/director’s of our time in Christopher Nolan’s take on the catastrophe that was Dunkirk is a film that he should be proud of — it’s powerful and well crafted, which should be no surprised considering the team behind the film. It avoids “war porn” of any sorts, showing little to no blood whatsoever, and piecing together the events of what happened in the typical Nolan-esque way that he uses time.

What can be disagreed with, however, is many reviewers and members of the general public calling ‘Dunkirk’ Nolan’s best film so far. Yes, it’ is an amazing feat Nolan accomplished, managing to interweave multiple story lines occurring at different points over various lengths in time (one even over the space of an hour while others taking up to a day) while it all making sense, however, it felt that there was something lacking in it all.

Nolan employed the kind of editing that was used in ‘Memento’ and ‘Inception’ in the jarring jumps from midday to pitch-black instead of the cross-cutting that may be traditionally used. While strange at the beginning, it begins to make sense. If anything, even when it’s not as mind-bending as Nolan’s previous work, ‘Dunkirk’ is still something makes you think as you try and piece things together. Editing is supposed to heighten the tension of what the Allies face but instead, there’s no transition between seemingly linked images even in the same plot lines and becomes lost, without any real sense of structure whatsoever.

The film itself didn’t grow in tension and instead, was one steady line of drama with at times feeling eternally frustrating at how long it takes for some events to take place. In his attempts to create tension, there’s not enough time for us to be with the character’s or their respective story lines. What was most frustrating about Tom Hardy’s air pilot was in him not circling back to land upon the beach to then catch a lift back home or defend from the skies for a little longer before landing at Dunkirk instead of doing what he did in traveling further up the coast to land his aircraft and then captured.

The sound design is something that needed to be seriously worked upon as with the design paired with Hans Zimmer’s score, it got to the point where it was deafening and in dire need of earplugs.

‘Dunkirk’ is great in it’s own right but to be deemed as one of the best war films to date is a little much. Something that can’t be ignored is the amazingly brilliant five minute one shot from Joe Wright’s ‘Atonement’ on the beach of Dunkirk that encapsulated what it was like to be a soldier on that beach; or the classic ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ which, in any respect, would be a hard film to surpass in terms of brilliance and greatness.

While it may be his best in some respects, it still fails to be as brilliant, awe-inspiring, and a topic of conversation for years to come like his previous efforts in ‘Inception,’ ‘Memento,’ ‘The Prestige,’ ‘Interstellar,’ and ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy.’ Nolan’s films of the future are still something to look forward to and will be interesting to see what comes next.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.


‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a visual masterpiece.

It’s been years since I’ve seen the original Mad Max films, but from what I remember, it has never looked so good. Director George Miller finally returns after a ten or so year development hell to produce this breathtaking film that starts with a bang and doesn’t hold up until the final fade to black.

For a film where the the majority, if not all, stunts were performed in camera with the only special effects added to give further life to what was caught on camera, it was spectacular. I was exhausted by the end of the film after being bombarded with action packed sequences and beautiful cinematography. Exhausted, but in a way that would draw me back into watching the film over and over again. This is what a dystopian film should be.

Everything about this film is cinematic. A visual feast. Miller has continued to mould a world where darkness is an escape from the continuous cliches and remakes that fill our cinemas today. It’s a well needed break and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Hopefully Fury Road will inspire filmmakers to start creating original projects worth caring about and that we will actually remember instead of fading off into a pot of mediocre big-budget, star-ridden films with no heart or substance.

It’s a road movie of epic proportions and boy does it perform. The film brings you into it’s world and makes you completely disregard the run time as it takes you on a journey through a desert wasteland as Furiosa (Theron) brings the Wives of Immortan Joe (Keayes-Byrne) to safety with the help of Max (Hardy).

Hardy certainly had some big shoes to fill after Mel Gibson didn’t return for another outing and he was definitely capable as the main hero, however, the emotional heart of the film, as well as the narrative, was carried by Theron’s Furiosa. And we all know how much of a brilliant actress she is.

As we progress through the film, it’s obvious that Hardy isn’t the only hero. Furiosa is as much of a hero as Max and they compliment each other very well on screen, carrying the story forward and pulling their weight where needed.

I’m proud to say that I’m Australian with this film as movies like this don’t get produced at this caliber often. If you get the chance to see this film on the big screen, do it. Don’t wait until it appears on netflix or at the local DVD store. It’s a visual masterpiece that deserves to be seen its fully glory.

Film-O-Meter: 9/10.

‘Legend’ isn’t bad or boring, it dwindles below expectations.

Legend tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organised crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s.

Judging by the trailer, the film had much potential stemming from the cast, setting, styling, and story. But from early on, it proved to have inconsistency in character, especially in Ronnie Kray who seemed to be at two completely opposite sides of the spectrum but it could be argued that it was the just the state of his mental condition. Ronnie’s inconsistency could also come from the fact that you could sometimes tell it was the same person playing two different parts that made in unconvincing. Either way, the attempts were there but it depends on how you judge Tom Hardy’s performances that will affect the outcome.

The music for the film seemed a little off putting and even though they were of that era, it didn’t exactly suit the genre the film found itself in. It set itself up for a fast paced action thriller in the east end that looked into the lives of the violent and insane Kray brothers but for a lot of the film, it felt like a love story. There’s no harm in having romance in an action-thriller, but it heavily centrered around Reggie and Frances’ short two year marriage that ended tragically in Frances death. Frances was hardly mentioned in the trailer yet she narrated and appeared in the majority of the film.

Ronnie and Reggie are claimed to going to “rule London” but setting aside owning a few failed clubs with barely any fight sights and grand total of five members in their “gang,” and this is including the Kray’s, they didn’t exactly set out to “rule London” as they had hoped to.

Although the language did reflect the era and the area the Kray’s were from, I don’t think I’ve heard the c-bomb dropped so much in a movie. Or even in real life. Or maybe it’s because I’m just hanging around in the wrong areas.

Legend isn’t a boring or bad film. It’s one that possibly dwindles below expectations.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.

‘The Revenant’ is visual poetry.

The Revenant tells the story of a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fighting for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

Seriously, what the f*** does Leonardo DiCaprio have to do to win an Oscar? Along with the cinematography of The Revenant, he was one of the strongest parts of the marathon of a film.

The Revenant is probably one of the most talked about films over the last year or so (apart fromStar Wars: The Force Awakens) over its troubled intensity of its production but leave all that behind. The film is an experience in itself. Very much like director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s previous film, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), it’s a very cinematic film with sweeping long shots and an absolute visual masterpiece.

It’s a film about death, survival, revenge, and the bloody acts of violence it doesn’t hold back on – but in all of this, it’s immersive and pulls you in for one hell of a ride. There’s a stark contrast in the films poetic beauty and ugliness of its violence but it doesn’t lean too far in either direction, balancing it perfectly. Speaking of the the striking aspects of the film, the revenge facet isn’t the films main theme here even though it was the guiding light to give The Revenant the proper ending and a particular structure. There are many films that have told a revenge story but what made this film really stand out was how it showed nature in such a blatantly honest and spellbinding way. It illustrates those of this story as another species attempting to survive in a dangerous frontier environment.

The performances of The Revenant are wonderfully executed with DiCaprio’s portrayal of Hugh Glass worthy of every word of praise but this shouldn’t detract from the fact that Tom Hardy’s grittily brutal performance as Fitzgerald should be ignored. Even though his almost unintelligible mumble were lost in translation, and a moment where it seemed he lost his southern drawl for his natural British tongue, there’s not a single doubt that he’s entirely devoted to bringing his corrupt character to life.

A little on the long side, but the breathtaking cinematography and the epic performances by both Hardy and DiCaprio are worth the run time and the gory graphicness DiCaprio’s character experienced. The Revenant is a film like no other and visual poetry, giving Terrence Malick a run for his money.

Film-O-Meter: 9/10.