"Dunkirk" opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces on the expansive French beach. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in. The story unfolds on land, sea, and air. RAF Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenseless men below. Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save even a fraction their army. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the following featurettes: Creation: Revisiting The Miracle (HD 07:49), Creation: Dunkerque (HD 05:00), Creation: Expanding The Frame (HD 03:36), Creation: The In-Camera Approach (HD 05:52), Land: Rebuilding The Mole (HD 05:59), Land: The Army On The Beach (HD 05:18), Land: Uniform Approach (HD 05:21), Air: Taking To The Air (HD 12:31), Air: Inside The Cockpit (HD 05:59), Sea: Assembling The Navel Fleet (HD 03:50), Sea: Launching The Moonstone (HD 05:55), Sea:Taking To The Sea (HD 13:43), Sea: Sinking The Ships (HD 07:29), Sea: The Little Ships (HD 05:57), Conclusion: Turning Up The Tension (HD 07:23), and Conclusion: The Dunkirk Spirit (HD 07:55) and a digital copy.
The 2.40:1/1.78:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on film in IMAX 70 mm (65 mm) on Kodak Vision3 film stock in Panavision Super 70. The picture exhibits two aspect ratios: 2.21:1 and 1.78:1 at varying times. According to reports, the filmmakers skipped the digital color grading (Digital Intermediate) process and instead did only lab color timing for the film version. For the digital deliverables, cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema graded to emulate as close as possible the film version. While photographed on film stock, grain is virtually unnoticeable. Picture quality is superb with an impressively realistic filmic color palette. Constant throughout are overcast skies or cloud-heavy skies in which the wide color gamut resolves an incredible complexity of shades. Colors depicted in a variety of vessels, airplanes, and objects are perfectly natural. The soldiers' uniforms are rendered with rich and warm hues. Soldiers' facial features and hair are also naturally rendered. HDR contrast is superb with deep blacks and fine shadow delineation. Bright light is never exaggerated but natural in appearance, and close to the theatrical version. Resolution is superb as well, with fine detail revealed in facial features, skin pores, hair, uniforms, helmets, and all manner of object texture. Hoytema's cinematography and Christopher Nolan's direction perfectly capture this detail, for an exceptionally realistic appearance, both in wide shots with great depth and in close-ups. A WOW! segment is from 0:25:44 to 0:28:25. Two other segments are from 01:10:32 to 01:11:24 and 01:13:32 to 01:14:46. This is a dramatic viewing experience that delivers tremendous emotional impact. Reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)
Unbelievably, the native soundtrack is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, not an Immersive Sound or even 7.1 format. While an excellent 5.1-channel soundtrack with an aggressive surround presence and superb dynamics, to really fully experience how powerful Immersive Sound can be, listen through DTS Neural:X or Dolby Surround, or for the best experience through Auro-3D Auro-Matic. All three provide excellent overhead processing and this soundtrack offers one an excellent opportunity to experience Immersive Sound as it should be. Reviewed through AuroMatic the dynamics and holosonic® spherical surround experience is amazing, with all 11.1 channels (seven plus .1 LFE ear-level and four height channels) engaged constantly. In this mode, the sense of dimensional spatial immersion is exemplary. The sonics simply far exceed the limits of 5.1. Why this was not remixed for the home theatre environment in one of the Immersive Sound formats, as also is the case for Christopher Nolan's 2014 film Interstellar, is unfathomable, especially since 80 percent of the experience is sound. Listening through AuroMatic, the experience is immensely intense. Dynamics are superb with exceptional deep and powerful bass that extends to sub-25 Hz reproduced by the .1 LFE channel, as well as the full-range loudspeaker channels. The mix becomes incredibly directionalized to all channels, including the height channels. This is particularly experienced during the air battles and mayhem resulting from the German attacks on the Allied vessels at sea, and the men struggling to survive. Hans Zimmer's orchestral score is not only very dynamic sounding but effectively further intensifies the action. And when the “home” boats arrive to rescue as many men as possible Zimmer's score delivers an emotionally effective feel. Other sound elements such as Foley sound effects, atmospherics and sound effects, such as bombs from the air, gunfire, explosions and pounding seas are incredibly realistic. Quieter moments deliver impressive nuances. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with good spatial integration. The Immersive Sound element produced by Auro-Matic is amazing, transforming a two-dimension native soundtrack into an impressive three-dimensional sonic experience. DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround work well too, but the reference loudspeaker layout is Auro-3D configured, and Auro-Matic does sound the best. Immersive Sound elements consist of a powerful orchestral score extended to the height channels, intense gunfire, wind, aggressively panned overhead fighter planes, arterial explosions, seagulls, bomb-splashed sea water, shouting soldiers, airplane engines and propeller sounds, ocean waves, ships pounding into the pier, soldiers climbing ropes to board ships, echoed chatter in bowels of ship, gunfire hits on airplanes, torpedo hit to ship and explosions, loud pounding sounds as ship sinks, men jumping and screaming in water, men’s echoed muffled voices in bowels of beached ship, footsteps on deck, shot-down airplane crash into sea, ship and boat sirens and horns, splashing and dripping water, water surface oil fire explosion, and other atmospherics and sound effects. This Immersive Sound element is not subtle but extremely effective in creating an effectively enhanced and emotionally satisfying holosonic spherical surround experience. This is an exceptional soundtrack, particularly when enhanced in either Neural:X or Dolby Surround, but especially in Auro-Matic, delivering reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)