War films that inspire oneâs fighting spirit
Dunkirk
War films that inspire one’s fighting spirit
Lanz Aaron G. Tan (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2020 - 12:00am

We are at war. Our foe is not Nazis, communists or Western imperialists as the films on this list explore, but nevertheless a killer — silent and undetectable. It’s imperative now more than ever that we trust in science and are prescient of unproven, opportunistic rhetoric. Hopefully, this list inspires the fighting spirit in those of you who aren’t vulnerable — to make the lasting sacrifices for those who are.

?Dunkirk (directed by Christopher Nolan). Nolan loves to play with time. From Memento to Inception, and now to Dunkirk, the British filmmaker is a master of non-linear storytelling. His latest film weaves three different plotlines — the war on land, in the air and at sea — to viscerally poignant heights. A tempestuous score by Hans Zimmer acts as the ticking time bomb, controlling pace with haunting arias and blaring bass. Dunkirk is about fighting the impossible — and making sacrifices to attain that elusive success.

Full Metal Jacket

?Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick). Full Metal Jacket challenges our notions of war, from the pitfalls of masculinity norms to the unforgiving, abrasive culture of combat training. Writer-director-producer Kubrick explores the psychological horrors of war as much as he does its physical manifestations. His film is evocative, confrontational, and led by powerful performances from Vincent D’Onofrio’s disturbing turn as a struggling private to Lee Ermey’s forceful role as a dictatorial drill instructor.

Darkest Hour

?Darkest Hour (Joe Wright). Impeccably scored with phantasmagoric noir lighting, Darkest Hour is flourished with stunning production values. But the crown jewel of this World War II Churchill biopic is Gary Oldman’s performance. Spluttering through thick prosthetics, the English actor is virtually unrecognizable in the role that finally landed him an Academy Award. Although Anthony McCarten’s screenplay is the weakest element of the film, often resorting to unrealistic clichés, Darkest Hour is still arousing when it needs to be — and that’s precisely what we need right now.

The Last Samurai

?The Last Samurai (Edward Zwick). Zwick’s epic brims with gorgeous costume and production design, effectively reviving the last vestiges of an honor code fighting to uphold its principles in the face of Western imperialism. It’s a story exploring guilt and redemption, and a reminder that Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe can both act well when not distracted by Hollywood action films. While some of its plot elements are outdated, its entertainment value certainly isn’t.

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN EDWARD ZWICK JOE WRIGHT
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