Director: Christopher Nolan
I’m not sure I should really need to explain the premise to this story but in brief this is Christopher Nolan’s telling of one of the most significant events of the second world war. Allied forces have been forced back and are surrounded upon the beach. This film tells the story of how the combined efforts of the Royal Air Force and civilian boats managed to bring home as many of the trapped soldiers home as they could.
It’s an interesting one to talk about the cast. I’ve listed Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy but in reality they are only small parts in a grand tale of heroics and bravery. Perhaps I’m under valuing Hardy’s input but only to try to not take away too much from the rest of the cast. Hardy and Murphy are well established in Nolan’s movies and, alongside Kenneth Branagh, they bring the big names to the movie to apply some familiarity to the cast list. The support, not that they’re really just the support, is of an impressive standard and should be recognised equally in terms of Nolan’s direction. The fear and sense of desperation shines through in a truly perilous fashion as these young men face their impending deaths or imprisonment whilst at the same time the bravery and valour shown by the rescuing forces goes a long way to showing how much the human spirit can achieve when used as a force for good.
Dunkirk is excellent. It’s a dark and harrowing tale from one of the darkest periods in European history. Unlike Saving Private Ryan, for example, it does not resort to extremely graphic scenes to get its message across. Nolan, instead, prefers to emphasise the very real element of peril and hopelessness of what confronts these soldiers. This is matched by the optimism and dedication shown by saviours both airborne and sea-faring. In particular the score presents a pounding back drop to the early events within the movie and moves into a more Vangelis-like moments of euphoria as scenes move towards the climax. Nolan usually likes to make his films to run for a serious amount of time but here we’re at quite a shorter running time but it’s just about a perfect amount of time to tell the story he was trying to tell. Visually it’s stunning, in particular the ariel photography is incredible. Personally, it wasn’t quite up to the standard of a couple of war movies I hold in such high esteem, those being Full Metal Jacket and Platoon but those films are from a very different war and are completely different kinds of war films. It’s definitely a film worth seeing, however, and it’s certainly a better choice than a lot of the mindless dirge to hit cinemas this summer. You will still be able to hear the sound of those diving planes for some time to come after you’ve left the cinema.
The Verdict: 3.5/5 Stars – Well worth your time and money.