Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a film of three stories, one taking part over the course of a week, one taking part over the course of a day and the final one, a mere hour. Whilst a little confusing to begin with, Nolan’s masterful storytelling ability knits these individual stories into one coherent whole over the course of a surprisingly short one hour and 46 minutes run time.
The film begins with a small squad of British soldiers running for their lives through town only to make it to the beach and realise the sheer desperateness of their situation. We then jump to a British coastal town where an old man is getting his boat ready to cross the Channel to help rescue the stranded soldiers. And finally we fly with three British Spitfires sent across to offer minimal help.
The focus is tightly cropped as we end up essentially following the destiny of three people, with everyone else merely supporting the story.
Coupled with a Hans Zimmer’s ability to create rousing emotional music, Dunkirk’s combination of lines of shell shocked troops, tight claustrophobic spaces and people drowning works to produce a pressure cooker of cinematic terror that is off set by the sheer beauty of seeing the Spitfires flying in formation and the amazing POV dogfight scenes. This is cinema at its best. In fact I’ll go as far as to say this is Nolan at his best.
I want to say more, to explain how fucking awesome Dunkirk is, but to do so would endanger the experience. It is a visually compelling, emotionally taut film that brings the reality of the Dunkirk story into sharp, unrelenting focus.
Nolan’s ability to engage the audience and draw them in has created a film so powerful that it catapults past the likes of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers to be the single best war story ever filmed.
Shot almost entirely on floor to ceiling format IMax cameras, Dunkirk is one film that you absolutely must see on a IMax screen.
Rating: M Violence & offensive language.