This historical epic, directed by Christopher Nolan, goes against the grain of Hollywood blockbuster, allowing its the raw emotion, iconically powerful Hans Zimmer soundtrack and the performances of its all-star cast to shine through, with out being lost in needless dialogue and indulgent special effect sequences. Telling the sotry of the Dunkirk evacutations from three perspectives; land, sea and sky, the film features an adept cast including Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance.
Dunkirk’s mature approach to the subject matter does credit to Nolan’s direction, and paired with the haunting sound effects – even better through cinematic sound systems – makes for a truly harrowing experience which packs enough emotional punch to make this an instant classic. As mentioned before the film tells the story of the rescue mission – which saw over 300,000 allied troops evacuated back onto British soil – from three perspectives, the first of which being the land. We follow the story of Tommy (played by newcomer Fionn Whitehead), a young British private, who’s desperation to get off the beach away from German forces leads him and a fellow soldier, Gibson, to act as stretcher bearers for a wounded man in a gambit to secure a place aboard one of the departing battleships.
We then switch to a group of civilians led by a man named Dawson (Rylance) who begin to sail across the channel in their boat, the Moonstone, in the hopes of lending their aid in the rescue effort. They come across a ship-wrecked soldier (Murphy) who’s desperate anxiety and reluctance to return to the beach tells the grim story of the horrors and effect of war. Elsewhere, in the sky this time, we follow the heroic Farrier (Hardy) – a fighter pilot who assumes command over a mission to eliminate enemy Heinkell bombers despite not having a fuel gauge to judge how much time he has to remain airborne.
As the film progresses, the desperation and terror of war come to the fore in what is simply an cinematic masterclass. It is emotive and impactful enough without being flooded by extravant action sequences – you get the feeling that this film is far more realistic and is by nature a lot closer to the bone emotionally than some of it predecessors from the war-epic genre. In short – while it may be a tough film to watch, not least thanks to its jumping between sperate timelines – the film’s emotional clout and loyal depictions of one of the most heroic and horrific events in Britain’s recent history, make it a film well worth a watch.
Dunkirk – Monday 9:00pm on Sky Premiere.