Christopher Nolan has proven to be one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema. “Memento,” the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception,” and “Interstellar” are my favorites from him. His latest entry, “Dunkirk,” is not only one of his best films, but it’s also the best film I’ve seen so far this year.
It’s World War II, and the Battle of Dunkirk took place in Dunkirk, France, where British troops were stranded on the beaches, because bombs are preventing the big boats from leaving. In fact, they’re sinking them. So, it was up to home (U.K.) to rescue the soldiers in small boats.
The movie is told in a nonlinear narrative, taking place on the beach, the air, and the boats.
Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), and Alex (Harry Styles of 1D fame) are among the young soldiers to struggle for survival on the beach, as they hide out in a beached boat, hoping for the tide to bring them out.
Mark Rylance plays Mr. Dawson, who takes his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and his friend George (Barry Keoghan) on his boat to Dunkirk to rescue the soldiers. The first they pick up is a PTSD solider (Cillian Murphy), who is terrified beyond words to be heading back to Dunkirk.
And Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden are among the pilots to battle their enemies in the air.
“Dunkirk” is beautifully shot, beautifully acted, beautifully crafted, and beautifully made by Christopher Nolan. It’s rated PG-13, but this war movie ranks with some of the best like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Apocalypse Now.” It’s all about the dangers and risks of escaping and rescuing, and all these scenes splice together at the right moments without any confusion whatsoever.
These images deserve to be shown in an art museum. The boats, the water, the foamy sand, the Dunkirk scenery, and the planes-all shown with the pure magic by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. And not to brag, but I’ve seen this on an IMAX screen, which helps capture it all.
The acting from Whitehead, Barnard, Styles, Keoghan, Glynn-Carney, Rylance, Murphy, Lowden, and Hardy-all spectacular and emotional. Even Kenneth Branagh adds a nice touch as the pier-master of the evacuation.
Again, this is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year, and I loved it from beginning to end-as both a looking and emotional picture.