I finally got a chance to see Dunkirk, at the Cinerama in downtown Seattle. I missed seeing it in 70mm, but it was still amazing. All the usual ways of showing the struggle and sacrifice of the individuals in this film were avoided entirely (I did not miss the usual portentious narrator or chattering setup dialog). I read some reviews saying something to the effect that Nolan didn't humanize the story, that he didn't get us close to the characters, but that misses the point. We are meant to feel something, and I sure felt it. A sense of scale is a central part of it: we do get people close up, but we get them dazed and scattered over the limitless sand and ocean: to be petty is to succumb to it, while heroism plays out in spite of it. The individual stories are captured in contrast to that scale, but piecemeal, no one being the main story, instead coming together as more than the sum of their parts in the final "victory", which is also the point. Also for once I did not hate the music, which in this case, while not exactly 'period', fit perfectly with the action, often staying out of the way. I bet the Cinerama will show the 70mm version again some day, and I will be there to see it.

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