Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Ave, Charles!

Charles reviews "Dunkirk" and responds to a couple points from my own review.

Now that I'm home from work, I can write a bit more. In his review, Charles contends that, although he agrees with the basic idea that a war film ought to convey the horror of war, you don't need blood and gore to do that. In his mind—if I'm reading him right—this exonerates Nolan from my accusation that the director didn't take the concept of war seriously because he did provide a level of tension, which Charles describes in detail in his review.

I fully agree with Charles that a film doesn't need viscera to be visceral, but for me, there needs to be something there—some surrogate—to convey the horror. As I said in my review, all Nolan gave us was a half-hearted gesture at suspense, and even then, this wasn't enough to keep me from almost nodding off at several points during the movie. So while I agree that a war film doesn't actually need blood and guts to convey the brutal nature of war, I didn't come away from "Dunkirk" with the feeling that Nolan had found a surrogate. I've felt more tension while watching any number of Tarantino films.

Maybe it's just that I went to an early matinee and didn't have a very good night's sleep. My fatigue could have played a role in my experience of Nolan's film. Then again, I most frequently go to matinees these days, so I'm not ready to let Nolan off the hook quite yet.


Charles said...

I guess it just boils down to how effective viewers found Nolan's surrogate. I (and others) found it effective. You (and other others) didn't.

One thing I did want to ask you was whether you saw it in IMAX 70mm or not. I am wondering how much of a difference the format makes in shaping the experience.

Kevin Kim said...

I didn't see it in IMAX. Perhaps I should have, but the bloodlessness would still have bugged me.

Charles said...

Hmm. One does wonder.

Unfortunately, there is really no way to definitively test whether IMAX makes that much of a difference, because you can only see a film for the first time once.

Anyway, I suppose we're just going to end up disagreeing on the bloodlessness. Your other points, about Nolan's storytelling ability, are harder to disagree with, though. I just happen to like Nolan's style.