5 Ways to Prep: Dunkirk
By George Rose
July 24, 2017
In a SHOCKING turn of events, I find myself agitated yet again with Hollywood and what they are putting me through in terms of writing this week’s article. A few days ago I was actually rather excited. I had spent the better part of the last week debating whether to feature Dunkirk or Valerian as the movie to prep for. In my left hand I have one of my favorite writer/directors ever and one of the few that still hasn’t disappointed me with even one bad movie (Christopher Nolan). The problem there is that his new movie, Dunkirk, is a historic war movie, and that is among my least favorite genres. In my right hand, I have a director who generally entertains but is all over the place creatively (Luc Besson). The reason Besson makes it hard to easily chose Nolan over him is because Besson has written/directed one of my all-time favorite movies ever (The Fifth Element) from one of my favorite genre mashups (sci-fi space action).
Nolan doesn’t need help selling a film, and analysts have been lowering their predictions for Valerian over the last month, so I figured Besson needed my help to boost ticket sales. About a week ago, Valerian’s reviews started coming in and landed it between 60-70% positive which is pretty good for the genre. Besson’s trippy film Lucy was great and is 67% positive so I started getting pumped for Valerian. Dunkirk had held back reviews, which is never a good sign, so I started prepping for Valerian’s article. I would recommend The Fifth Element (duh) as the genre comparison, probably Lucy to emphasize Besson’s psychedelic flair, Chronicle was going to help you get to know lead actor Dane DeHaan, Paper Towns was going to introduce you to lead actress Cara Delevingne’s filmography, and maybe even Disney’s mega-flop John Carter would be the possible warning of the financial disasters that epic space blockbusters can bring.
Well, it’s a good thing I was late writing my article this week. Valerian’s reviews have dipped to 59% positive, taking it below both Lucy’s 67% and The Fifth Element’s 72% ratings. As for Dunkirk? I assumed given the crappy war genre, the reviews embargo holding off any early word and Nolan’s flawless filmography that was due for a critical dud we’d have something to laugh at. Instead, the reviews are currently 94% positive. Dunkirk has stolen the victory from Valerian and I continue to bow down to Hollywood legend Christopher Nolan. I’m still pissed he’s forcing me to watch a war movie but Nolan is King of Tinsel Town and I’m sorry I ever doubted him. So sit back and get ready for ANOTHER historic war film that is sure to remind many of us that we are spoiled rotten Americans that should never complain.
1) Memento (year: 2001, genre: mystery/suspense, reviews: 92% positive)
Directing a good movie is hard and requires the masterful skill of managing all other areas of a film’s production. Writing a good movie is also an incredibly difficult task since it requires creativity and collaboration to make sure the rest of production gets the vision right. Then there is the Golden Goose of Hollywood: the writer/director combo pack. This person has access to both the left and right sides of their brain. They can think of a movie and build it. Many have tried but few succeed. Heck, many are still trying after several attempts. As for Nolan, his second film rocked the independent movie world with $25 million and landed two Oscar nominations.
Plenty of people have also had this level of success with their early filmography. However, those people weren’t telling the story of a man trying to solve the murder of his wife. Oh yeah, this man can’t remember anything either. And the movie tells the story backwards. Backwards with flashbacks and tattoos and polaroid pictures. It’s total insanity and Nolan pulled it off. This is the kind of writing/directing that others have tried, few have accomplished and almost none have followed up with the kind of continued success that proves you aren’t a one-hit wonder. Though I wasn’t aware of who Nolan was or was destined to become back in 2001, he would soon prove to be the best thing to happen to Hollywood in the new millennium.