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Robert_duder

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Se7en (1995)
One of the greatest films ever made period, 24 September 2017
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Se7en defines a cult classic. It is a film that was created intrinsically to haunt you for years after you've seen it. I've seen it a handful of times and in watching it again just now I realized how brilliantly it was built. It might be one of the finest handcrafted films ever made. It was like each and every shot and moment and scene was made to let you see something different each and every time or unpack the film for years to come. If you look at fan theories and things you think is true that have nothing to do with the actual film you'll understand how deep the movie goes. It is definitely a cinephile's dream in that you can find so much about the film to explore. But even at a base level, the tension is unbelievable. With each character and moment you can't help but feel like the next moment will be someone's last. The dark, brooding city they create (unnamed and always raining) is haunting. The film holds this true film noire feel and the style of the characters and the office is something from a 1940's Detective film and yet the film clearly is modern times. Each time I watch it I want to know more about the world they exist in and yet we never will but watching each time gives you something new.

Both Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman should have been given Oscars. It might be one of the best Detective teamings in film history. Freeman is the epitome of world weary, ready to retire but haunted by the past cop. Brad Pitt is the idealistic young Detective with the beautiful family just building his life and world and sinking his passion into his work. Both men believe they understand the person they're chasing and yet both underestimate the killer greatly. You're watching this mystery unfold through both men's eyes in different ways and then in the end they both end up on the receiving end of a wicked sense of justice. The killer (I literally refuse to say who it is in case someone hasn't seen this nor knows the twists) is brilliantly played by a well known Hollywood actor. He also should have been given an Oscar. They keep his name from the opening credits and it makes it all the more impactful when he is revealed. He is hands down one of the best "villains" or killers in Hollywood history in my opinion. The final scene with the three of them in the field is easily a classic moment. Gwyneth Paltrow has a small but impactful and well played role as Pitt's young wife. Her and Freeman forge an unlikely friendship that works very well.

I never liked Fight Club...it's true...judge me. BUT David Fincher is still an American Hollywood icon. Some of his other films just literally hit 10's for me easily, probably more than any other director other than maybe Spielberg. But Fincher's style is dark and cuts right through to our very core of what makes us human. Call it horror or noire or thriller but somehow he gets these scripts and creates twists and turns you can barely handle and then gets actors to absolutely knock it out of the park. Gone Girl, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Se7en, The Game, The Social Network, these are films that are stylistic and character driven and in every case puts you in the middle of the action and makes you feel everything. Se7en is the definitely of a modern day classic and if you love crime films this will be your mother ship calling you home. This will forever by one of my favourite films for a myriad of reasons and I think anyone could sit around and talk about it for years to come. 10/10

Wind River (2017)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Would stand solidly behind the words ... and the Oscar Goes to ..., 24 September 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Best movie of 2017? Maybe. At least the second best in my opinion (see Wonder Woman review) and perhaps a bit of a surprise for me. I love catching an indie flick by chance and being blown away by it. A great crime drama is something of a masterpiece when done correctly. I can think of many over the years that have stayed with me because of the character driven, setting inspired, but real feeling stories and that's what drives home with Wind River. It is character driven, it is absolutely setting inspired and feels incredibly real. I saw Hell Or High Water and enjoyed it but it didn't have the same impact as Wind River. This film is disturbing, visceral, captivating and the characters are subtle but very easy to relate to. I haven't seen Sicario but I've heard good things. Wind River is slow burning but super powerful. It gives a back story that links the characters to the current situation and then builds a mystery and a climax. There are a few mis-steps in how the film unravels but I was still riveted by everything. A film like this relies on tension and atmosphere and the director puts you in the middle of both. It also easily builds back story so that you understand the characters without spending a lot of time dwelling on them.

The cast does such a great job because the chemistry between them is so strong. I'm never sure whether or not I like Jeremy Renner but over time he's growing on me in the Marvel Universe. But I was really glad to see him sinking his teeth into something more gritty and real here. Granted he still is playing the lone sulking brooding type of character that Hawkeye is but he does it well and he cares the film like a star should. Elizabeth Olsen also returns to full form as the FBI Agent who is solely unprepared for the case. Olsen and Renner are good together and I like that it's not a sexual/romantic relationship but strictly a partnership. Olsen's character is tough and strong and I like that a lot. Graham Greene has a great role and good chemistry with Renner too but his character's progression and eventual climax is poor at best. They use him very well as a supporting character and then completely waste him in the end. Hugh Dillon, Kelsey Asbille, Ian Bohen, and Jon Bernthal all have strong supporting roles that really bring the story together and put you in the middle of this community reeling from personal problems and crime.

This is definitely director Taylor Sheridan's best in my opinion. The style and direction is very good. It might even trump the cast's performance. If you look at the way the movie is filmed you can't help but be impressed. Considering the entire film is this bleak, white wasteland with not a lot to go on, he makes it come to life. Renner's employment as a hunter and knowing the wilderness and tracking predators. The close ups of certain character's faces and the wide-shots of the outdoors and what they're up against. The far shots as though you're often looking through a scope...these are things that would really catch a critic's eye. But regardless if you like a slow burning thriller, this one is great and it gets under your skin and stays with you which is why I think this is one of the best indie films of 2017 and I hope to see them pop up somewhere at the Oscars as unlikely as it is. 8.5/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
So ridiculously dumb funny that it works, 9 September 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Bridesmaids was such a massive hit that clones have come along every so often. Even Ghostbusters was a clone of sorts with Paul Feig helming it. I never saw a trailer for this but I suspected it would be the same old. I was never a fan of Bridesmaids so I wasn't sure how this would be. So my expectations were practically nil. Rough Night is insanely stupid. It is one ridiculous mishap after another and it probably feels forced and absurd and guess what? It's kind of amusing. It's slapstick funny and it's just enough predictability that you have fun with it. It has a story and fun characters and just a very old school 80's comedy vibe in the vein of Weekend At Bernies or Revenge of The Nerds. There is some serious strong direction to this if their goal was a certain demographic. They know how to use each character, even the supporting ones. I wanted to roll my eyes and just not like it but I DID!

I think they were very fortunate to get the star power of Scarlett Johansson in the film and she seems like odd fit for the film but she actually is great! It's a nice turn to see her in a silly comedy playing the popular but down to earth girl. She fits in nicely and plays the role very well. Jillian Bell is the "Melissa McCarthy" of the movie. She is a little more subtle than what she could be which is good because it doesn't cross being annoying. Zoë Kravitz and Ilana Glazer round out the college foursome. They are definitely secondary characters but with some definitive development even if it's basic. They still had some funny moments and carry some of the story as well. Kravitz was the better of the two in my opinion. One of the most overused comediennes right now is Kate McKinnon but...she does have timing and star power and she is her typical type of role here. So fans of hers won't be disappointed and her and Johansson and Bell have very good chemistry together. The five of them in fact work very well together amongst all the silliness and that is a high point of the film. Paul W. Downs, Colton Haynes, Ryan Cooper, Ty Burrell and Demi Moore all have small but terrific fun and often hilarious roles in the film. Burrell probably sticks out more than most but he serves her purpose. Downs, Cooper and Hayes are amazing in their respective small roles.

Interesting fact, Paul Downs is also a co-writer of the film (explains why he wrote himself in as Johansson's fiancée) and I give him kudos for a script that is really dumb but works. Lucia Aniello is the director and I think it's good for a film like this to have a female director but that being said I'm not sure she has the experience to really make this impactful. The story works but I wonder if someone with more handle on comedy could have really made it even better. She has never really had any experience on a big screen film. Regardless these are only a few things that make the film not as good as maybe it could have been BUT I still liked it quite a bit. Maybe it was my extremely low expectations or boredom of the evening but it's fun, silly and a good flick for girls night or just to entertain in a simple brainless way. 7.5/10

Life (2017/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Calling it a knockoff of Alien is being way too generous. Life is blah., 9 September 2017
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was hesitant to watch Life for a few reasons. I remember when it came out, I hardly saw any trailers and it has a strong cast and yet did very poorly. I knew there had to be a reason for that. I'm not sure how a film like this goes so poorly. All parts of it are things we've seen before. Space exploration, vivid personality crew, experts at what they do, find something weird, weird attacks them and picks them off, a few or two or one remaining finds a way to survive. But Life is so completely forgettable. Despite the charisma of the stars in the cast and some very weak attempts at making them seem human, I couldn't care less about any of them. Most of the time I was so bored I didn't care who was in it. Even the music seemed like it was the same little snippet over and over and over again trying to set tone. The special effects are okay although sometimes I thought their faces looked like you could practically see a green screen behind them. It gets marginally better once the practically faceless cast gets picked off but probably only because Jake Gyllenhaal has a lot of chemistry on screen. There is one good solid scene that was still only good because it was reminiscent of Alien. This film checks a ton of boxes for smart sci-fi horror and then doesn't deliver on any of them.

So check out this cast. As mentioned you have Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada and Rebecca Ferguson in your main cast. Between them you might have one okay scene each. Gyllenhaal gets the most but only because he lasts longer than everyone else. It's honestly like watching a cheap slasher flick where people are picked off one by one but not even in a fun gory way. I don't even know what they're goal was behind the film. It's so brutally predictable and obvious with nothing new added to the genre. It feels like a stale remake of a hundred different Alien films and especially THEE Alien film itself.

Director Daniel Espinosa is young and fairly new to Hollywood but he did alright with Safe House though I remember thinking then too that a more experienced director could have done more. He just doesn't seem to know what to do with a strong cast. Life is less than average and I was bored by the half way point. You could compare it to other films but it doesn't try nearly as hard as it should. It was a colossal disappointment with a few and I mean... minimal moments that caused me to look up and keep going instead of turning it off. 2/10

Baywatch (2017)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Considering how bad you SHOULD expect it to be, it's not that bad, but still underwhelming, 25 August 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there was ever a reason to say a remake/reboot was necessary this would be it. There was no situation where this would have ever worked in any way. So I sat down to watch it with sincerely low expectations. So imagine my shock when it was okay. Okay at best! It certainly had some fun with the original series poking fun at the seriousness of the original series and the sorts of things they took on. It also made multiple blatant way too obvious jokes about the slow motion running and the bathing suits. It actually ended up being less gratuitous than I thought and I think even balanced the male to female ratio and included a short, stubby, geeky guy for good measure. The "Jonah Hill" type of the film which was unnecessary but it worked. It actually tries to have genuine heart and it does have it's moments. The characters aren't completely vapid and they actually give them some personality even if they spoof the poor personalities. The story is okay, kind of weak but at least they gave it a story. The action scenes are decent but contrived and much like many films I've seen lately, why is CGI fire so incredibly bad. There are two "okay" cameos from former Baywatch cast members (the two most necessary) but it's not a film you should rush out and buy that's for sure.

The biggest movie star on the planet oddly enough is Dwayne Johnson (I saw oddly because for a WWE wrestler to come up and become the world's biggest star was unheard of prior to him.) Mind you it seems more are coming (Dave Bautista for instance.) Johnson is so incredibly charismatic you can watch him in anything no matter how bad. So his personality and larger than life on screen persona makes his character and performance redeemable for the film. He is having a good time and fans of his will enjoy it for that reason. Similarly Zac Efron has a certain quality about him that makes his suave and egotistical character of Matt Brody kind of fun to watch. Efron and Johnson have good chemistry together (I'd love to see them do something with a better script.) Both men are built like brick walls and seem to be popular with women. The women leads are not much different. They are stunning, gorgeous, half decent actors at least but underdeveloped characters. Alexandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach absolutely...err fill their roles well. Daddario is fast becoming a celeb crush, the girl is just an unbelievable beauty and she is a good actress too! I actually liked Rohrbach's role and her fun romance/chemistry with the "nerd" of the group played by Jon Bass. That was one of the best parts about the movie. Bass plays his incredible predictable role well so it works fine. The five of them have good chemistry together which helps too for the very silly contrived plot. Ilfenesh Hadera has a sadly small part because she seems like she could have been a more serious addition to the cast. Priyanka Chopra is horrendous as the villain. She isn't even as good as a Rocky and Bullwinkle villain. She might sort of look the part but she is so subtle and laid back, the only good part is her ridiculous death.

Director Seth Gordon has some decent credits to his name but mostly in Television. I can see why he would want to take this on and try and make it his big hit film but everyone had to know this would never fly? The thing is it's not terrible. It's okay in every sense of the word. It's funny-ish, it's got action-ish, it's got men and women in bathing suits-ish, it's not even really gratuitous except for the language which is quite unnecessary meaning they would have been better off trying to sell this the demographic of teenagers or early 20's. I was surprised I didn't hate it because the script is slapped together with very little effort and it relies entirely on the charisma and chemistry of the cast which is actually good enough to not hate the movie 6.5/10

1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
2017's Kingsman until...you know Kingsman comes out, 25 August 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There was a point when I thought the days of my brand of action films were a thing of the past. I grew up on the clichéd, magnificent, excessive action films of the 80's and 90's. Catch phrases, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, guns, body counts and F bombs. I am thrilled that now they are starting to make these classic popcorn flicks again and it's not all about superheroes and Billion dollar openings. My expectations for The Hit-man's Bodyguard was mediocre just because the trailers were just okay and it seemed like an old formula. I'm happy to say that for me it worked in a big way. The action was fantastic, the one liners were plenty and the comedy was balanced perfectly. Some of the harsher reviews harp on it being formulaic and a recipe that hasn't worked since the 90's but it does still work! It is very formulaic and predictable but it's not trying to earn any Oscars, it's just trying to entertain. The worst part of the film for me was the ridiculous plot holes and having to overlook them (how many mistakes world class assassins make, how bad Reynolds and Jackson were at hiding their tracks, bullets flying with good guys never being hit critically) You absolutely have to shut off your sense and brain and just enjoy it.

Samuel L Jackson fans will love this. This is pure Sam L at his finest. He is an expletive spewing, laid back, deadly assassin with a big heart. If you could write a role just for him to appease his fans this is it. I couldn't possibly say it's not a good performance because it fits him like a glove. So if you like him, you'll this and his character. Ryan Reynolds...same idea. Fans have a certain expectation of him and this is it. The adorable, sweet guy with bad-ass moves and some of the best sarcastic comedic timing in the business. A film like this literally lives and breathes by the chemistry between it's "buddies" and Reynolds and Jackson are good together! I hesitate to say great because I think about legendary team ups and I don't see this as "legendary" but they are good, maybe very good. The film is perhaps too formulaic to ever show the two of them as "great." Gary Oldman...legendary actor AND legendary villain. If you're going to make an homage to 90's films you might as well get Lee Harvey Oswald, Dracula, Jean- Baptiste Emanuel Zorg and Ivan Korshunov just name a few. Ivan Korshunov (AirForce One) is one of the best villains in action film history. Oldman is sadly underused as the villain but he is still a formidable presence in the film. His end scene is also perfectly crafted to those 80's/90's films much like the one liners throughout. Elodie Yung and Salma Hayek have small but impactful roles as the leading men's ladies. Hayek is overblown by funny in her scenes and Yung is a great strong character who kicks some serious butt. It's unfortunate in one of the scenes where she gets to take on her nemesis she is saved by Reynolds but otherwise she is a strong female heroine. Joaquim de Almeida who I am a fan of from Fox's 24 years ago, is also good as a sub-villain. Then there is a huge host of nameless/faceless henchman pouring out of every orifice to get butchered.

So speaking of Stallone (my idol) Patrick Hughes is probably best known for directing the least of The Expendables series number 3. He made some mistakes with that. So it would lead me to believe that Hughes probably wasn't best for this film but it's still a solid enjoyable flick and the action and fight sequences are phenomenal and no holds barred thanks to the R-Rating. So Hughes clearly has a love for the same genre of action as I do so I'll keep giving him a chance as he seems to be getting better. Many of the action and crazy over the top stunts reminded me of The Kingsman which was an incredible film and instantly one of my favourites. I would love to see sequels to this and the budget was very modest so it's possible. There is nothing a love more than just a flat out good time at the movies and it was that! 8.5/10

Colossal (2016)
The film everybody wants that not many will like, 23 August 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For decades now I've been a movie fanatic. I will watch literally almost anything. My reviews will prove that. It's been awhile since I saw and Indie flick and I remember seeing trailers for this and thinking it looked interesting but also knowing what to expect being an indie film. I assumed it would be a little off the wall and bizarre and it is exactly that. But how often do we hear movie goers complain that Hollywood is not original and there are no good stories out there (ironically the film was sued for being too much like Godzilla) but the concept of the film is very unique. It transitions from comedy to drama to action/sci-fi throughout the film almost flawlessly. You could tune into this movie at any given time and not know what genre you were watching. The film could easily be dissected into a morality tale about emotions and self-confidence and life decisions. The script is not amazing and has some pacing issues but the film is saved from monotony but it's main two stars. The fact that the film ends up taking itself so seriously is a testament on how much they want you invested in it. I presume it was quite low budget but the special effects are strong despite a few moments of terrible looking fire. I'm also not sure I understand the underlying story of what happened to them when they were kids. But the movie is unique enough and well acted to entertain.

If you were going to find someone to headline a potentially bizarre film you'd get one of the world's finest and they did that in Anne Hathaway. Few would doubt her acting chops but also her ability to be relatable and believable and show serious emotion. She is subtle and wonderful as down on her luck server Gloria who feels like she is in a rut. Hathaway gives this such a quirky little spin but ends up being the perfect heroine too. I was blown away by the performance of Jason Sudekis. He actually gives what I would think the Academy would consider an Oscar Worthy performance as the man who draws her into a deadly game of control and emotional abuse in some sense that manifests itself as a battle between two massive creatures in Korea. Sudekis is disturbing in some sense and he and Hathaway are great together. Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson and Dan Stevens are okay as Sudekis' friends but they're solely unnecessary to be honest. They serve a purpose to show a dark side of Sudekis but outside of that they don't get a chance to give any sort of performance.

Nacho Vigalondo has had some success in some extremely indie horror flicks that gained a cult following. I think I saw some parts of them. He also wrote Colossal and he definitely shows some talent. I think he has a lot of learn and the film could have used some experience and some fine tuning. All that being said if you like indie films and you really want to see something different. Colossal is that! I enjoyed it in all it's quirkiness. 7/10

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Taking the predictable concept and making it even better than the first time around, 23 August 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I grew up in and on the 80's Slasher films. I used to be terrified to even look at them and then I fell in love with them in later years. R-Rated, ridiculous over the top slasher flicks with x amount of sequels and I came back every time. The new generation of horror films which rakes in the money are also good but very different. PG-13/14A opens up a bigger audience and means character development and scares are key and usually it works! The Conjuring was a great film and spun off into Annabelle which was a decent movie but we've seen killer dolls before haven't we? Inevitable we would see a sequel. I had mediocre expectations but wanted to see it anyways. How often do we see a sequel better than the first especially when it's a horror film and based around a concept we've seen before? Annabelle: Creation adds more story and great characters and some truly great performances from the young cast. It even leaves enough to explore more about the doll and the situation around it. The twist in the end or how it ends up is fantastic and I didn't see it coming at all. It makes you truly invested in this as it's own franchise apart from The Conjuring. Allegedly the "real" Annabelle is a Raggedy Ann Doll and they even pay homage to that.

Anthony LaPaglia plays the perfect role as the father and head of the girls' home later on. I haven't seen him star in anything in a long time but he does a great job in his role and gives it a very good brooding vibe. Samara Lee and MIranda Otto are also good as his family. Otto has more scenes and is underused but still good. Talitha Eliana Bateman and Lulu Wilson are M E S M E R I Z I N G. They are fantastic in their roles. They bring a realism to it and Bateman gives honestly one of the best performances in a film of this type in a very long time. I think we will end up seeing a ton of her in the future. Stephanie Sigman is also a little bit underused I think but gives a great performance as Sister Charlotte. The other girls in the film played very well by Grace Fulton, Philippa Coulthard and Tayler Buck are good. Buck is extremely underused but Fulton and Couthard are good in much smaller roles than Bateman and Otto.

Director David F. Sandberg breaks the mould in that he has done some shorts and various work but until recently had done a mainstream film. He had some success with Lights Out which I have not seen yet and now this. I'm extremely impressed with his direction. This script could have been very typical and "same old" but he uses the perfect build up and scares and direction to get the most out of the rating it is given. While the film is not "gory" by definition, it definitely has cringe worthy moments and gets very much under your skin. There is something real about the feel of the story and the setting of the house/orphanage/workshop is absolutely perfect and minimal to suit the story. I will say that I think for being a film that was supposed to show the origins of Annabelle, it doesn't actually tell us where the spirit began or it's true origins. It only gives the origins of the doll itself and the first thing the demon jumps into. The Conjuring franchise is growing into something really great. It builds slow but both those films were good and now the Annabelle series stands on it's own. Best of all this sequel is even better than it's predecessor! 8/10

First Kill (2017/I)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Better straight to video fare than usual, 17 August 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am definitely a sucker for punishment when it comes to my Hollywood heroes. Bruce Willis is one of those and he's certainly fallen into hard times as of late. He chooses straight to video stuff that is just awful and usually has a tiny cameo role in it and probably rakes in a huge paycheck. Despite that...I see his name and I click on it. I did it again. However, much to my surprise, First Kill is actually quite a good movie. It's not amazing and it won't be hitting my shelves as part of my collection but it's entertaining, decently acted with some good action scenes. It was apparently filmed in less than 2 weeks and you'd never know it with the exception of some of the scenes towards the end which start to feel a little hokey especially since most of the film actually was not. I've seen worst films go to theatres. I saw this on the same day I saw Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and guess what...I liked this more. It is very predictable and the characters are paper thin but it works to entertain and keeps you watching.

Hayden Christensen has had a bad rap since his turn as Anakin Skywalker in Episode II and III of the Star Wars prequels and I've seen him in a few other things that weren't great. This might actually be the better of his performances I've ever seen. I think I could have done without the really forced scene in the beginning that tried to show him as a "busy" wall street banker. It had no bearing whatsoever on the story and doesn't fit the film really. Otherwise he makes a great hero and a devoted father. Ty Shelton is excellent as the 11 year old son who is kidnapped as a bargaining chip and develops something of a friendship with his captor. Shelton doesn't give an award worthy performance but he still plays the part very real and does a good job. He and Christensen have good chemistry. Gethin Anthony is also quite good (although again predictable and stereotypical) as the kidnapper Levi. Regardless of how he's portrayed, he plays the role well. Megan Leonard is Christensen's wife and I think she has lines? Otherwise she's fodder to get kidnapped and round out the family look. Her performance is weak at best and the character is empty. William DeMeo is okay as well as an underused side thug for the family to defeat before the big boss. And then you have Bruce Willis. He's still got a very small role but it's more than 5 minutes. He is most of the last half hour of the film and the climatic scene is a shoot out in the forest and nobody does a gun fight like Bruce Willis. He actually seems invested in the film and the script and that helps. The final showdown between him and Christensen is great and they have good scenes together. The two of them carry the film quite well.

I will emphasize again, the movie is not amazing. I'm reviewing it as a straight to video film and how much it entertained me an hour and a half. I didn't know director Steven Miller by name but I do remember seeing the Silent Night, Deadly Night remake and I didn't hate that either. I thought it was silly fun. It turns out he's directed almost all of Bruce Willis' recently bad straight to video movies. Maybe they hand him a paycheck and a script and this time he did okay. I am hopeful he gets better with each film because he is directed Escape Plan 2 which I am stoked for. It is likely he's working his way up and he gets better scripts and better budgets each time. This film is worthy of a watch. It's miles above one of Miller and Willis' previous collaboration Extraction which was torture but certainly nothing that will stick with you for long. 7/10

Dunkirk (2017)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Probably well filmed but a messy film to follow and take in, 17 August 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

War films are similar to Westerns, we just don't see many of them anymore. While I do believe Christopher Nolan did some incredible films, I felt like after the Batman franchise his ego overtook talent and now he thinks everything he makes is gold. I thought Dunkirk would just be a solid, potentially moving film about an important battle in World War 2 history. Some reviews seem to indicate that is what some people saw. To me, it was a story with good cinematography, impressive practical effects, a rousing score but empty characters, a non-sensical and pointless chaotic chronological plot and a slow pace. I get that the point is to focus on all the men and the event as a whole and that works but in order to get truly invested as a movie goer, I think you need some character development and hero or heroes that you care about and I couldn't even tell you a single name in the film. The performances are all perfectly fine but the script is non-existent. They are just faces on a battlefield and it's very hard to connect with the incident. Towards the end of the film there is a big moving moment when the civilian boats arrive and there are tears in the eyes of the soldiers and I felt nothing. It was like watching a documentary but even less connecting.

There is a lot of newcomers on the cast, done on purpose by Nolan to get fresh faces, and then a few names. Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles (Yep that Harry Styles) and Jack Lowden are the main cast. Mark Rylance probably gives the best most memorable performance. He might be the only one you really get a back story on or something to actually understand him from. Everyone else gets plenty of screen time and some good scenes of fear and emotion but the lack of dialog and climactic scenes leaves you confused about whose who. I knew Tom Hardy was in the film but barely realized it was him until the end. Kenneth Branagh gives a very small, woefully underused part but has solid emotion to it. Harry Styles does a great job in his role as well. The film teases a few twists to the characters but it's so painfully forced down your throat that finding out otherwise is almost expected.

Christopher Nolan has done some of the biggest films of our generation. He also did some of the most brilliant (Inception, Memento) but as he continues to make films he goes bigger and bolder and uses elaborate pontificating tricks to make his films seem so great. The reality to the movie going public of 70mm film or whatever it is being important is pretty low I think. I do really respect him for practical effects because I think CGI and Digital is way overused. The scope of the battlefield and the air fights and the ships on the water are all really well done. The claustrophobic feel of some of the scenes really is good. It's just lacking the connect that draws you into the battle. You won't find yourself invested in any of the characters period. I'm surprised this wasn't a November release for awards season though we will likely see it in the technical awards. 6/10


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