Christopher Nolan has made a career of going epic with films like Interstellar, Inception and the Batman franchise, and Dunkirk certainly continues that trend.
From the get go you’re on the edge of your seat, following young British soldier ‘Tommy’ as he is trying to escape death from the hands of German gunfire through the streets of Dunkirk; and that suspense remains for the entire 106 minutes the film runs for.
For those unaware of the history behind it, Dunkirk was an unmitigated military disaster, with the British, French, Belgian and Dutch armies losing a considerable number of troops.
With only a 40km stretch of water separating it from England, losing the battle of Dunkirk put Nazi Germany almost on the banks of the United Kingdom and within an arms stretch of winning the war.
Nolan’s Dunkirk centres around the evacuation of some 300,000 Allied troops from certain depth and bringing them back home for a recharged attack on the Nazi’s, known as Operation Dynamo.
As is with most Nolan films, nothing is straightforward.
The film runs in a non-linear narrative, intertwining three different time-lines of the one event into the same story - one hour, one day and one week (don’t worry, this all makes sense when watching the film) covering all big three areas of modern warfare - air, land and sea.
Coupled with another kill score from Hollywood heavyweight Hanz Zimmer, Nolan does an extremely brilliant job of letting the sounds and actions of warfare do the talking in this film, disregarding the need for a thick movie script.
Don’t expect heavy gun fire and trench to trench warfare like Saving Private Ryan or Gallipoli, Dunkirk provides a narrative on the sheer desolation felt by the Allied troops either waiting to be killed by the German Luftwaffe, or finally getting home with their tails between their legs.
The horror of the beach landing scene in Saving Private Ryan is matched by sounds of Germand War Fighters screeching down towards beached Allied troops.
The air battle scenes are epic - there’s no other way to describe them.
You’re torn between wanting to see the Nazi fighters shot down and wanting the Allied fighters to chill out so you can admire the sun setting over the English Channel.
Supported by brilliant performances from Nolan favourites Tom Hardy and Cilian Murphy, along with stand out efforts from newcomer Fionn Whitehead and One Direction’s Harry Styles, Dunkirk is an absolute must-see.
Nolan is a cinematic genius, and as good as his previous films have been, Dunkirk firmly sits as his best piece of work to date.
Do yourself a favour and watch it on the big screen with surround sound to fully appreciate the beauty of this film.