“Dunkirk” was undoubtedly a powerful film in exactly the form it was released in, but this creative reimagining and re-editing really highlights one of the film’s strengths: its incredible visual storytelling. Reworked as a silent film, you realize just how powerful it is without spoken dialogue— and, really, this was one of the best films you could take a risk like that on. “Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk featured such sparse dialogue and atmosphere-heavy scenes that many reviewers remarked that it functions almost like a silent film,” the Independent explains. “YouTube channel Like Stories of Old decided to put this to the test, re-sequencing clips, minus dialogue, in black and white and 4:3 aspect ratio. All the hallmarks of the silent movie era are there, from the bombastic score and fast motion to the grain and explanatory cards.” And somehow, it really, really works.
It’s amazing to see how seamlessly this film transforms into something from another era. It takes an incredibly strong visual background to be experimented with like this and still come out as not only a cohesive, but also a powerful piece of cinema. You can watch the whole thing here but, beware, there are definitely spoilers.
You can see why the Youtuber was so excited about the project. “I was amazed at how well it translated and how well it highlighted Nolan’s use of camera angles, body language, facial expressions and staging in Dunkirk’s storytelling; a great use of visuals both in portraying minor conflicts as well as in telling the story as a whole,” Like Stories of Old wrote. “I think there are many recent films that have scenes with strong visual storytelling, but I can’t think of many films that can be turned into a silent film in their entirety and still work. Dunkirk however, I believe, is one of those films.” It certainly is. This project is the perfect mixture of tribute and reinvention— and reveals so many of the film’s strengths.