Plot: Miraculous evacuation of Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain and France, who were cut off and surrounded by the German army from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France, between May 27- June 04, 1940, during Battle of France in World War II.
Review: Dunkirk is the story of when German forces advanced into France, pushing back the Allied troops on the shores of Dunkirk. Through scattered air and ground cover from both the British and French forces, troops were slowly and carefully evacuated from the beach using every available naval and civilian vessel that was accessible. The heroic mission ended with, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers being safely evacuated.
First and foremost, Christopher Nolan did an excellent job with this film. The on screen action and dramatic story telling were excellent from beginning to end. The sense of mounting tension and urgency is heightened by a truly phenomenal score from Hans Zimmer that does an excellent job driving the action with dynamic force.
The film covers three view points including the beach, a Pilots cockpit, and a civilian boat belonging to a family of three. The three view points help to give you the perspective of everything going on in the country during that time and play a huge part in the overall story for the film. As expected, Nolan does lap each of the stories throughout the movie. Often jumping from place to place in the story overlapping time stamps. There was very little dialogue or character development which at times made this all a little confusing as to where you were in the story. If I had to give the film one critique it would have to be that because the film has so much going on, the lack of actual conversation, make it hard to follow at times. Most of the story is told through the high energy action and suspenseful war scenes. (Which are excellent!) Overall, the jumps don’t disrupt the story too much and you are able to find your way back.
One of the standout performances in this film has to go to Tom Hardy. As you would expect from one of the top actors of our generation, Tom delivers a great performance in this film all without saying more than maybe a dozen lines. Most of his characters story in Dunkirk isn’t told through words but rather emotion and eye gripping action packed scenes. You find yourself rooting for him all without knowing the slightest information about who he is. He’s the hero that these men needed and that’s enough to get you behind him and rooting for his success.
To sum it up, this is one of the movies I’ve been looking forward to seeing all summer. Christopher Nolan is known for making great films and as of lately his films have been some of the most talked about of the last decade. However, after the final scene was played I was left wanting a little more. The film doesn’t allow the audience to get to know much about the characters. (which may work for some people.) While most war films want you to know the soldiers and root for them because of their back story Dunkirk goes on the assumption that the simple feeling of helplessness that these men are feeling will be enough to get you behind them. Well, it worked. They may not be the “Patriot” or “Private Ryan” that were used to but you still can’t help but cheer for them.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought the movie was masterfully made and the screenshots and video footage were top of the class. No doubt we will be seeing this movie called more than a few times in February when the Oscars roll around. I just wish that there were a little more story and less to be left up to interpretation. Still, this was great film and kept me entertained from beginning to end and for that, I give it an 8/10.
By: Clarence Hairston