Oscar Bait – Get Out / Dunkirk

Title: Get Out
Director: Jordan Peele
Year: 2017
Country: USA

It’s highly unusual for a film to be out on DVD when it receives it’s Oscar nomination… this year there’s two. Get Out is an even greater rarity – a Best Picture nominee that will have been out for over a year before the Academy Awards are given out. I guess that speaks for both the quality of this film and the times that we live in as, usually, a film released this early usually gets forgotten.

So not only is this an early release, but it’s also a comedy-horror. If someone can tell me of another film of that distinct genre being nominated then please enlighten me as this feels pretty unique.

What sets Get Out apart from other horror films is, obviously, the race angle. It’s hard to go too far into a lot of it without veering into spoiler territory, but the main element is the whole ‘under the surface’ type of racism from people who claim to be otherwise tolerant. It’s all stuff that’s easy to recognise, but it becomes such a baseline that when actual racism starts to occur – such as when someone starts touching him as if he was a piece of meat on display, which echoed a scene from Ali: Fear Eats The Soul – everything feels even more heightened.

Watching this, it was hard to believe that I was watching Posh Kenneth from Skins acting his socks off in the directorial debut of sketch comic Jordan Peele. All things considered, this is a remarkable debut and is the exact sort of horror film that I really enjoy. It’s also worth mentioning the performance of Alison Williams, here’s hoping this is the beginning of more interesting roles for here.

At this point I really am glad to not be ranking this films until right at the end. So many great films this year that it’s getting ridiculously hard to differentiate between the top flight.

Title: Dunkirk
Director: Christopher Nolan
Year: 2017
Country: UK/USA

Despite being the second of the Oscar nominated films to be released, this is the film that I actually saw last. You see, I’m someone who didn’t see what all the fuss was about with Saving Private Ryan, so I kept putting off watching this again and again. Stupid really, I’ve never not enjoyed a Christopher Nolan film… so why would that stop now.

So yea, newsflash, I thought Dunkirk was amazing. I should have just trusted that it would have been because, after all, the Battle of Dunkirk wasn’t some huge victory with gung-ho Americans making wisecracks. No, this is a film about one of the largest and most miraculous retreats in modern military history.

Whilst I hate to give this film credit, I think I might appreciate Dunkirk a lot more because of Darkest HourThere is so much about Dunkirk that I didn’t know, so it was good to get that extra context before sitting down to watch this.

So this had an interesting story to tell, but that can easily be rendered dull by a poor director and script. Good thing Christopher Nolan was involved and found a way to create such an engaging film, despite there being no real central plot line other than ‘escape Dunkirk’.

The big thing that made this work was how Nolan found a way to interweave three distinct perspectives, operating in different time frames (1 week, 1 day and 1 hour) that are all cleverly brought together at the end. It allows for some excellent pieces of foreshadowing and callback as we learn more about what’s occurring.

It’s also interesting to note how little dialogue there is in a lot of this film. I guess that is part of what makes this true to life, but it just goes to prove how, sometimes, you don’t need a lot of spoken exposition to get the emotions and the story across.

There’s a lot that I really could say about Dunkirk, but I’m just going to leave this here. It really was a pleasant surprise just how much I enjoyed this film. Makes me wish I’d not waited for the home release and just seen this in the cinema.

 

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