Year of Release: 2017
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Running Time: 106 minutes
This Second World War film deals with the Dunkirk evacuation where 400,000 Allied soldiers were rescued from the beaches of France in 1940. It deals with three narratives set over three different time frames. British soldier, Tommy (Whitehead) is one of those waiting for rescue, constantly under threat from bombs and torpedoes. Civilian sailor Dawson( Rylance), his son and employee make the dangerous crossing across the English channel to help with the evacuation. Two Spitfire pilots try to fend off enemy bombers.
This is a gritty, visceral, intense experience. It's more like an experimental film with very little dialogue or even story. It's all about the viewing experience, and this is a film that needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible. The cast, which include pop singer Harry Styles in his first major acting role, are impressive with very little to work with. Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance provide the noble stiff-upper-lip speeches. This is an unusual war film in that the enemy is barely glimpsed, aside from a fighter plane you never see a German soldier, or catch a glimpse of Nazi imagery. The characters are under threat from an unseen enemy, with attacks coming out of nowhere. Also the soldiers are not selfless heroes. In fact, they are often decidedly unheroic and often unlikable. I couldn't say I enjoyed this film, but I admired it a great deal.