A unique form of storytelling highlights 3 perspectives of the rescue at Dunkirk, with 400,000 men trapped on a French beach while Nazi aircraft attack from the above. The film focuses on 3 threads – the men on the beach awaiting a boat to take them to safety; pilots overhead battling Nazi aircraft, and the rescue at sea of men stranded in the water by civilian manned boats.
2017,2160p HDR10, 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio
Rated PG-13, Aspect Ratio 2.20:1 /1.78:1
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Dunkirk is a landmark film with three stories told from three different points of view. I don’t remember being so moved by a combination of storytelling, video and audio since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Like few other films, Dunkirk puts you in the movie. Some will complain that there is little character development, but that was not the point of this story. In fact, you could watch this movie with the sound turned down and fully understand what is going on.
The three story threads intertwine as the movie progresses. The suspense at times is extreme, while plot, sound and video serve up an unforgettable experience.
The visuals are stunning and the 4K disc comes close to recreating the theatrical experience. I saw the film projected at 70mm in its theatrical run, and at home watched it on a 55” OLED set, and the movie stunned me all over again. I also projected the Blu-ray disc which is part of the set, using an Epson Projector on an 8-foot screen.
The movie is all about the photography and intense music score by Hans Zimmer combining to create a thoroughly suspenseful experience. Dunkirk has been hailed as one of the greatest war films of all times, and I concur, but Dunkirk feels like something far removed from a typical war film. Its techniques are not the techniques used in standard cinema, so it must be judged on its own uniqueness. In short, this is a remarkable, not to be missed film.
Dunkirk was shot on IMAX 65 mm and 65 mm large-format film stock. Although the aspect ratio changes during the film, you won’t likely notice it because you are so gripped by what’s happening on the screen. The HDR is subtle, but gives the film a slight uptick in quality over the Blu-ray. The color palette is muted by design, so expect a lot of blues and grays. Still, by any standard, Dunkirk looks just great. The disc sets out to capture the hues and sounds of the original film as seen in theaters and it does just that, if you have a high quality AV system.
The 5.1 audio may disappoint buyers who were expecting an Atmos soundtrack, but I can tell you that the sound is spectacular. In the early scenes as a soldier flees the city streets for the beach, the gunfire is startling in its realism and directionality. In both my viewing rooms I listened to expanded audio by letting my processor upscale the audio to 7.1, and that sounded great too. I expect owners with at Atmos setup will also be pleased, even though they would have appreciated a native Atmos rendering.
There is a 3rd disc in the set which contains all the extras. They are plentiful and fascinating, giving film buffs a real insight into how this film was created.
The features are arranged by topic:
- Revisiting the Miracle
- Expanding the Frame
- The In-Camera Approach
- Rebuilding the Mole
- The Army on the Beach
- Uniform Approach
- Taking to the Air
- Inside the Cockpit
- Assembling the Naval Fleet
- Launching the Moonstone
- Taking to the Sea
- Sinking the Ships
- The Little Ships
- Turning Up the Tension
- The Dunkirk Spirit