For my money Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s apex directorial moment. His impulsiveness reminds me of the challenges Robin Williams presented when trying to contain the great performers tendency to be let loose and run unbridled.
Nolan isn’t as frenetic; he doesn’t fly off on some stream of consciousness riff, his challenge is the same as any storyteller’s, he is assigned the task of distilling, of telling the essential story, finding the telling details, to give up on the parts of the story that do not possess the essence, leave those pieces untold.
Barbie will earn its first billion soon. Greta Gerwig is ripping it up, literally she’s gone to the no-go Barbie zone and plucked from Mattel, a venerable toy company, and then with dare and dash she has used Barbie as a foil to build the most improbable, most compassionate, most feminine liberating manifesto in a moment in our history when both the Taliban and the Evangelical-Christians in the USA and their antiquated views of the role of women have temporarily stifled human rights cause.
Oppenheimer’s nuclear technologically altering threat to our world because of the power of story is eclipsed by a more urgent present moment oppression undertaken by patriarchs last desperate spasm.
Blowing up the world by nuclear weapon, this is one humanity ending way to end civilization. Or, if allowed the other way would be to imprison the very entry point to life on earth, to bring repression, revenge, and misguided regulation to humankind’s gatekeepers.
Gerwig in this high stakes battle for the high ground of filmmaking’s most feted box-office-turf may have the better hand, won the day, made the cleverer film. Apparently by ticket receipts we now have proof of the winner in this odd pairing of dueling existential films.