D: Christopher Nolan
Warner Bros/Syncopy (Emma Thomas & Christopher Nolan)
USA/UK/France/Netherlands 🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇫🇷 🇳🇱 2017
W: Christopher Nolan
DP: Hoyte van Hoytema
Ed: Lee Smith
Mus: Hans Zimmer
PD: Nathan Crowley
Fionn Whitehead (Tommy), Tom Glynn-Carney (Peter), Jack Lowden (Officer Collins), Harry Styles (Alex), Aneurin Bernard (Gibson), Kenneth Branagh (Cmmdr. Bolton), James D'Arcy (Col. Winnant), Mark Rylance (Mr. Dawson), Tom Hardy (Farrier), Barry Keoghan (George)
Christopher Nolan's recreation of the Dunkirk evacuations, one of World War II's biggest failures for the allied forces, is brought to the screen with a story featuring minimal dialogue, which allow the sights and sounds to build tension with greater effect.
The non-linear story follows the evacuation from three perspectives; land, sea and air, as the British and French forces are surrounded on the beach on all sides by German attack.
The lion's share of the running time focuses on a small group of soldiers and their struggle to get off the beach, while the other two storylines feature a pair of RAF pilots providing air support and a mariner and his two teenage companions who do their part in the rescue, picking up a soldier suffering from PTSD en route.
The non-linear narrative of Nolan's story won't be for everyone's taste, as it serves more as a gimmick rather than serving any driving force to the story, although it does leave questions hanging over which characters survive. The film's main assets come from the cinematography which finely capture both the period detail and the nerve-shredding battle scenes, as well as the sound design, which aurally plunges you straight into the battlefield from the very first scene. It also has to be noted that Nolan makes a very good choice in hiring young actors, representative of the actual soldiers' ages to play the main characters, and even former boy band singer Harry Styles delivers a very good performance with his cinema debut.
It's not quite of the same visceral realism of Saving Private Ryan, but Dunkirk will surely be hailed as one of the classic war films in the years to come, and was certainly deserving of recognition in the awards season, particularly in the technical categories.