Today: June 22, 2024

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan‘s gripping, gruelling war epic is his finest film yet. An exhausting, often overwhelming experience, it’s essentially a single, ever-intensifying set-piece that plunges you into the nightmarish chaos of the Dunkirk evacuation. It’s May 1940, eight months into World War II, and 400,000 British troops find themselves stranded and helpless on the shores of northern France. The safety and security of home lies just across the water, but with the advancing German forces almost at their backs they’re desperate and almost broken – sitting ducks praying for deliverance.

From minute one it’s a constant struggle to survive, to endure, Nolan setting the tone with a chest-pounding opening sequence that introduces Fionn Whitehead‘s Tommy – our main eyes and ears. He and other gaunt-looking squaddies are wandering through the deserted Dunkirk streets when a shot from an unseen German gun shatters the quiet and jolts you clean out of your chair. From here Hans Zimmer‘s groaning, grimly effective score kicks in and Tommy and thousands of others like him – including a perfectly fine Harry Styles – are thrown from one fresh hell to the next.

Glimmers of hope are snuffed out from both above and below, with circling Stuka planes and U-boats sinking the few British ships that Kenneth Branagh‘s naval commander has at his disposal. Still, even amid all the panic and despair, Nolan never overdoes it. Instead of unnecessary grandstanding and melodrama we get an intelligent, split-focus narrative that also features Tom Hardy‘s outgunned Spitfire pilot and stoic civilian volunteer Mark Rylance – the latter joining the now legendary flotilla of small fishing craft.

The performances, to a man, remain impressively understated, while the dialogue is cut to the bone.

Previous Story

WIN GIRLS: THE COMPLETE SEASON SIX

Next Story

Ghost In The Shell

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Joe Hisaishi in Vienna

Mamoru Fujisawa, known professionally as Joe Hisaishi, is a Japanese composer of over a hundred film scores. Known primarily for his lush Studio Ghibli soundtracks, Hisaishi’s collaboration with Hayao Miyazaki has been

Memories of Murder Unboxing

Long before Bong Joon-ho scooped up his Academy Awards for 2016’s Parasite, he crafted one of the most chilling serial killer thrillers of all time. Memories of Murder is compelling and truly

Farscape: The Complete Series Unboxing

The irreverent and imaginative sci-fi series Farscape is, quite rightly, a cult classic of the genre – and as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, Fabulous Films have put out a wondrous new
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Oppenheimer

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Oppenheimer

Radiance Films Blu-ray Unboxings

There’s a new boutique label in town. Radiance Films promise