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Hans Zimmer's DUNKIRK


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This approach to wanting films to be almost ascetic in their storytelling, or that those kind of films are somehow "purer," is such horse crap to me.  These are tricks that storytellers have been usin

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6 hours ago, Mephariel said:

 

Did Zimmer used the original theme though? I am not sure because I am not familiar with the theme. I read that Elgar's theme was used but it was rendered unrecognizable. Wasn't the issue with Arrival the fact that he used Richter's piece and never properly credit that anywhere? The piece wasn't even in the album.  

 

Richter was certainly credited on film.

 

And yes, Zimmer uses the original Elgar theme throughout the score.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Cerebral Cortex said:

I have this feeling that Zimmer is going to take the Oscar for this one. 

19 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

Way too early to call.

 

I must admit, against all better judgement...I like this score :)

 

 

19 hours ago, Bilbo Skywalker said:

If Williams was going to win another Oscar for another Star Wars film it would have been TFA. 

 

Sorry, Bil but on the day that THE HATEFUL 8 was released, any chance of JW winning his 6th Oscar, dried up, and blew away.

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Film is fantastic and the score is amazing. Can't imagine what it's like on album but its perfectly utilized within the film itself.

 

 

Re: Oscar eligibility, The Artist won and had a track from Vertigo, and the Hateful Eight won with tracks from The Thing (and both were verbatim, not mixed and mashed as here). The Academy is inconsistent in their rulings, my guess is Zimmer might have a good shot a win (but who knows this early).

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Wow, I really love "The Tide"! I have no idea what the context of it is within the film but the groaning, machine-like sound really captures the imagination.

 

I'm also a big fan of the first ~2:30 of "The Mole" - very elusive musical line in the background!

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Yeah, the Elgar quotes are embedded in some sneaky places!  The recurring rising, chromatic line also reminds me of one of the inner viola/cello voices from Nimrod, but I'm sure it's not intentional, just a vague similarity.

 

I could be wrong, but if The Tide was largely used in the sequence I think, then it was one of the most evocative musical moments in the film.

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I haven't heard the album yet. My CD arrived yesterday but I'm abroad right now. Seems like at least half of the tracks contain Elgar references and additional composers are actually credited on the back cover (I've seen the back cover in a local music store). The score in the film is effective but I think there is a bit too much of it. I understand what they were trying to achieve but occasionally it feels too forceful. I found myself thinking "I get all of this is tense already!". But it was strange unobtrusovie when paired with WWII period imagery.

 

Karol

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My thoughts...

 

 

ACTING/DIRECTING/SCRIPT:

Superb movie.  Very good script and direction.  The opening sequence was expertly crafted and already made me feel like I was a participant in something dreadful and desperate.  Extremely moving and very intense film watching experience.  I loved the less is more script.  Very little exposition dialog thankfully.  Excellent performances demonstrated by much the actors emote without dialog.  It is just a deeply moving viscerally moving experience and full of complex philosophically challenging moments.  I had never considered that allies would reject each other out of desperation.  I know I am not explaining this as well as the film did but that the Brits were desperate to save Brits even though allies were desperate.  There are so many positive aspects of the film.  I always love the regular Nolan cast such as Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy.  I loved that Tom Hardy expressed so much with virtually no dialog.  I think he had no non technical dialog...it's all shown through his weary eyes.  What a bad ass.  I loved the empathy that Cillian Murphy's character could deliver.  There is so much humanity, pathos, and empathy in this film.  There is so much subtext with Mark Rylance's performance but he is a cerebral character actor.  I always love his performances. 

STRUCTURE:

It took me a while feel the out of sequence structure wasn't a gimmick but ultimately found the retelling of the same events from converging point of view was extremely satisfying and helped deepen the experience.   I left the movie theater deeply moved and more importantly, enlightened.  This is a superb movie going experience. 
 
VISUALS:

Stunning. I so much loved the ocean foam visuals.  I felt cold while watching this in a hot Los Angeles day.  Nolan is a very visual director ala Ridley Scott.  I am also an aviator and a coast guard certified skipper so this film really connected cerebellarally with me.  Though I am not a fight pilot, I have flown over the ocean in extreme situations like 60 degree banks with 3 g's, performed acrobatics, etc., and felt the film felt realistic.  I loved and have always loved Tom Hardy's portrayal of an RAF ace.  I have known people like this.  One of my very proudest memories was to fly cross country with WWII aviators as a fellow aviator and hear of their heroism first hand.  These guys are just freaking legends.

SOUND DESIGN:

The realistic approach to sound design will probably result in an Oscar for sound editing.  The dive bombing planes with their mosquito like sirens were terrifying. The bullets were terrifyingly in your face.  The use of surround and enveloping the audience were solid.  It could have been better.  The underwater sounds did not quite fit with what it sounds under water.  The dialog was clear and explosions felt palpable unlike prior exploits.  Here it was a success.

SCORE: I have not heard a note of this music before experiencing the film in a large crowded theater.  Overall, I enjoyed Zimmer's approach to the score and found it immersive.  My constant frustration with Nolan/Zimmer is the persistent overscoring.  I was desperate for moments without score because that ADDS to the experience and they might be ignorant to this concept feeling more is more but in my opinion that hasn't been fulfilled with any Nolan/Zimmer score.  Was there any moment of this film without score?  It sure didn't feel like it.  I was truly desperate for respite.  To me, this scene:

 

was a million times more effective WITHOUT SCORE!  I will also say that Zimmer's scoring approach on this film was entirely tense and effective but it was still completely overscored.  I wish it was scored maybe half has much and then Zimmer's approach to this deep drama would have been twice as effective.  I am only speaking of this as heard in the film but will check it out on album later. 

CONCLUSION:
I have not read anyone else's thoughts on this film other than some headline reviews.  But this is probably the best film I have seen this year and deeply moving.  I thought it was interesting how even the allies were resentful/distrustful of each other extreme circumstances.  I also felt like the difference between cowardice and heroism might just be a matter of when you die rather than how you acted.  I knew the Dunkurk story before seeing the film but did not feel I "knew" the experience of Dunkurk before seeing this film.  I will also add that this is probably the culmination of Nolan's directorial experience.   This is a rare film that not only lingers in your memory but forces you to further understand the context. 9/10.  This film is a borderline masterpiece.
 

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9 hours ago, DominicCobb said:

Re: Oscar eligibility, The Artist won and had a track from Vertigo, and the Hateful Eight won with tracks from The Thing (and both were verbatim, not mixed and mashed as here). The Academy is inconsistent in their rulings, my guess is Zimmer might have a good shot a win (but who knows this early).

 

The Vertigo usage in The Artist is controversial in the film but The Artist is saved massively by the fact that it is literally 100% wall to wall scoring with zero sound effects and dialog impeding the score. Basically it would have to try very hard to NOT win that oscar. As such there is hours of original new material in the film that is not diluted by using a 2 minute snippet from Vertigo. I think that decision was appropriate.

 

Even The Hateful Eight, I think The Thing  is used for one landscape shot sequence and that's it. For many of the main sequences with score in the film, it is Morriocone's new material. I think it should have been eligible, but not sure it was a significant enough work by the maestro to merit a nomination or a win.

 

9 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

What they did to Johannsson earlier this year was bullshit.  One of the most interesting and original scores as an in-film experience ever and they disqualify it over a dumb needle drop.

 

I think the decision in Johannson's case was entirely appropriate. The very first piece you hear I believe is Max Ritcher and it scores the rather long intro sequence - maybe 5 minute in length which basically sets up the entire movie. The music is very prominently mixed in the early sequence making it extremely striking and recognizable and in some ways the identity of the film as most of the emotion is set up in the intro section with the score and stuff, I believe if such a major aspect of the movie is using pre-existing music, then indeed the contributions of the composer are severely diluted.

 

Infact agree in most cases when the academy disqualifies a score. One of the ones that I don't agree with is Babel which I think should have been disqualified but unfortunately not only did it qualify but won.

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1 hour ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

Even The Hateful Eight, I think The Thing  is used for one landscape shot sequence and that's it. For many of the main sequences with score in the film, it is Morriocone's new material. I think it should have been eligible, but not sure it was a significant enough work by the maestro to merit a nomination or a win.

 

 

Three tracks from The Thing, and one track from The Exorcist II. Same composer, yes, but that hasn't stopped the Academy before (Mark Orton's Nebraska).

 

As I said, inconsistent, so who knows, maybe they'll rule there was too much Nimrod, maybe not. But I personally think it should be eligible.

 

1 hour ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

I think the decision in Johannson's case was entirely appropriate. The very first piece you hear I believe is Max Ritcher and it scores the rather long intro sequence - maybe 5 minute in length which basically sets up the entire movie. The music is very prominently mixed in the early sequence making it extremely striking and recognizable and in some ways the identity of the film as most of the emotion is set up in the intro section with the score and stuff, I believe if such a major aspect of the movie is using pre-existing music, then indeed the contributions of the composer are severely diluted.

 

 

I'm a little torn on that one, as I absolutely think the score should have been eligible and possibly nominated, but I do understand the hesitation there. Not so much that pre-existing music is a major aspect of the movie, because I think that argument begs the question about pop music, but more because very simply I think it'd be hard for voters, unfamiliar with the piece, to realize it wasn't part of the score. No doubt that's why Babel won.

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And think about it, the nomination is the overly oversight the music branch has over the process. For the final vote, the entire academy votes, basically publicists and costume designers and make-up guys and everyone, and you can't expect detailed musical knowledge on their part. They will not even think about what is pre-existing and what is not.

 

So atleast there is some oversight during the nomination procedure, but I agree it is entirely subjective and a decision can basically come down to who are the members the music branch picked to sit on a committee to decide a score's eligibility.

 

 

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Spoiler

 

I think it's Zimmer's best score in a very long time. I think Zolan have been trying this approach with their films but this is the first time they really nailed it. I also think it's Nolan's best film. Technically and narratively I think he got everything spot on. It's a complete cinematic experience. The story is great, the score is great, the acting is great, the sound is great. It keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout and you care about the characters despite not really knowing a great deal about them. 

 

Two things that bug me with Nolan films are runtime and dialogue. Too often, I feel, he makes three hour films that don't need to be three hours long. Rather than feeling stretched they feel like the last half hour is tacked on. I don't mind a three hour film but I think it has to justify its length. Dunkirk's 2 hour runtime better suited Nolan's film making. Everything was tighter, it doesn't drag, it remains exciting throughout. 

 

Too often his dialogue is just the character explaining the plot. Whether he just doesn't trust mainstream audiences with his plots or he just isn't good with dialogue I don't know. There's none of that here though. Brannagh's character give a small bit of exposition but only what's necessary. The film definitely benefited from the sparse dialogue and I don't think any more was required. He nailed that. It's almost a silent film but I don't think it's too "artsy" to lose mainstream audiences. 

 

Cinematography was excellent. Some genuinely beautiful shots throughout and the colour palette was gorgeous. The special effects were breathtaking. The Spitfires were real (I love Spitfires) and they look amazing on screen. I don't know what he did for 109s and Heinkels. If he used CGI for them he did it very well. I liked the mounting of cameras on the planes. It was a much more claustrophobic than the way dogfights are usually portrayed and, as a result, probably more realistic. Hardy just oozes "RAF Ace". Just cool and calm throughout and the scene where he decides to forgo his own safety to stop the bomber was expertly conveyed through his eyes without dialogue. 

 

The sound design and music went hand in hand and the marriage of the too was spectacular. Zimmer supported the sound by mimicking the sound of planes and stuff through the music which greatly added to the tension and unease. There was some very high pitched notes while the Stuka's were dive bombing and this just made you feel uncomfortable. Stuka's have a distinctive sound that anybody would recognise but by blending their sound with the music it makes the viewer tense and uncomfortable and you feel feel the way the soldiers do ducking for cover. 

 

I honestly don't think I could fault this film at all. I loved every second of it. I don't know how enjoyable Zimmer's score will be outside the film but if he gets the Oscar next Spring I certainly wouldn't begrudge him the success. I wouldn't want every film to be scored this way but it was perfect for this particular film. Some people have complained about the amount of music in the film but I think the few moments without music are elevated as a result. You're left on the edge of your seat waiting for this silence to be broken as you inevitably know it will. The music is so constant it's really noticeable when it isn't there. 

 

The film managed to be emotional without ever being cliched or syrupy. There's no real happy ending. The survivors, if they're lucky, have another 5 years of war ahead of them. Hardy's character is a POW and being a POW of the Nazi's wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Brannagh's character's fate is ambiguous. Rylance's son's character will most likely enlist and he could lose him as he lost his other son. It's very cyclical and realistic. 

 

10/10

 

Also, Spitfires. 

 

 

 

Review with potential spoilers. 

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9 hours ago, Richard said:

Apparently, Zimmer uses something called a Shepard Tone, which, to me reads like the musical equivalent of an Escher picture: an always ascending staircase that goes nowhere.

Can JWfaners think of any other examples of this?

 

He stole that from me!  I used that years ago in one of my works. I'm suing!!

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9 hours ago, Richard said:

Apparently, Zimmer uses something called a Shepard Tone, which, to me reads like the musical equivalent of an Escher picture: an always ascending staircase that goes nowhere.

Can JWfaners think of any other examples of this?

 

The other Zolan scores. Nolan talks about it in his Classic FM interview (and talks about how he structured the film itself around the idea of the Shepard tone).

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On 7/20/2017 at 4:06 AM, RPurton said:

 

 

Wow, the quoting system on mobile is pure shit. Not sure why this keeps showing up. 

 

Anyway, just wanted to point out the end of Pink Floyd's Echoes as another use of a Shepard Tone. 

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9 hours ago, Richard said:

Apparently, Zimmer uses something called a Shepard Tone, which, to me reads like the musical equivalent of an Escher picture: an always ascending staircase that goes nowhere.

Can JWfaners think of any other examples of this?

 

In The Dark Knight, the sound designers used a Shepard Tone for the Batpod's engine to give the illusion of constant acceleration. 

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That recurring two-note motif in Dunkirk is very reminiscent of the trumpet theme in BvS. Not sure really what to call them

And Shivering Soldier sounds like something right out of James Newton Howard's Signs

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Just saw the movie

There were a few moments that would be interesting to have had on the album (the stretcher scene and the sinking of the ship)

but most of the 'highlights' were put on the album as best as they could

though tracks like 'Home' and 'Supermarine' are more like suites of material, and tracks like 'Oil' and 'Mole' are truncated. it sorta flows in chronological order (and tracks like The Tide/Impulse seem to be near direct rips from the movie)

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Saw the film. And I have no idea how to judge the score. I literally saw it 2 hours ago and am unable to recall a note of it. But it is not that kind of a score.

 

I am sure if I listen to the album, I would be unable to say which piece was played when.

 

The score is a near constant presence in the film from what I recollect and it is basically just building up the entire time. There is some warm English sounding music towards the end to signify that the good guys are safe and what not, but not much variation otherwise.

 

I would call it an effective score. However, I feel like I will get absolutely nothing from listening to it on album. Zilch. I think it is a score which would have zero appeal and zero sense out of context. But that's just because I have just seen the film.

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Maybe someone can help me in this thread regarding Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.

 

At the beginning of Track 4 of the Batman Begins album, a a soprano boy appears, which also shows up in The Dark Knight Rises in the finale track, "Rise".

 

So my question is who wrote that bit? Was it JNH or Zimmer? Because if it was JNH, I didn't see him credited for it in TDKR.

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