Dunkirk (2017)

★★★★★

Seeing Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in IMAX was one of the best theater-going experiences I’ve ever had; and it may be the best film I have seen all year.

The sound design makes it seem like you are in the middle of the action. Every bullet, every bomb, sent goosebumps through my whole body. Hans Zimmer’s terrific score starts playing as soon as the film begins. It doesn’t stop either, just like the action. We hear the sound of a stopwatch in the background sometimes, it sounds almost like the sound of a heartbeat. The heartbeats of the soldiers needing to evacuate Dunkirk to flee for their lives. The sounds of nervous pilots trying to save those lives.

There is little dialogue because it makes sense that there wouldn’t be much in a situation like Dunkirk. You just take in everything that is happening. The choice for the story to have multiple perspectives of the event was also a terrific choice. We get to see all parties involved (not the Nazis though) and a little part of their story. I will not go into each character as I think it is something that you will want to experience blindly the first time. But all of the characters have interesting perspectives and roles in the evacuation.

When I write these reviews for movies I really enjoy, I sometimes find it hard to put into words why you should see it. Other than “please watch this movie” because sometimes, I am afraid that explaining why I like it so much may ruin the allure of the film. I can (and did) tell you easily why not to see the other big release of this week, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Dunkirk is one of these movies. Something that leaves you awe-struck and speechless. A picture that, when someone complains about how “movies aren’t as good as they used to be” you use as ammunition to fuel your argument that cinema can still be exciting, new, and most of all, groundbreaking.

 

Free Fire (2017)

★★★★

What makes Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire so damn good is the use of sound in the movie. I knew exactly what angle the bullets were coming from in the theater. What we also get is a gritty, violent, action flick based in 1970s Boston.

While the conflict begins to arise quite quickly it never feels poorly paced. It is actually quite the opposite. The 90 minute run-time is the perfect amount for the plot to keep you interested while confined in one place for the whole movie. It is gripping to watch the characters slowly move from cover to cover while in the lengthy shootout and that is a hard thing to achieve for over one hour.

The soundtrack of Free Fire is the beautiful sound of bullets being fired from all directions. The lack of music in many scenes improves the movie all for the better and the addition of John Denver at some points makes it even better, as well as a funky saxophone.

What’s odd is that Brie Larson has now been in two movies released back to back that take place in the 70s. The other film I am talking about it of course Kong: Skull Island (2017). Both have good period set designs but Free Fire would remind most of the aesthetic and color palette of 2016’s The Nice Guys. Another film set in the same decade as the latter two. The combination of yellow and brown just seems to fit the era well.

Free Fire is another great addition to A24’s ever-growing plethora of great films to choose from. What other film has numerous actors wear fake facial hair as well as polyester suits and makes you want to listen to John Denver on your car ride back from the cinema?