Updated: Jul 31, 2019
This is very stylish. The colour in the opening sequence would not look out of place in a 1950s Hollywood Musical. Nolan loves cinema and this is the definition of cinematic. This though does detract somewhat from the events on screen, harrowing as they are. It’s beautifully made though and Nolan puts you right in the heart of the ever increasing tension. Now I don’t know how accurate this is, but I’ll assume they did their homework and it’s close enough to actual events and with that in mind, as with all depictions of war, I’m reminded how utterly hopeless it all seems. I find it impossible to watch things like this and not wonder how I’d cope. It’s not a pleasant thought and therefore a good reason to thank Nolan for that degree of separation. The acting is good, the characters work well, but it’s all about the spectacle. The dog fights, with cameras twisting in mind boggling contortions, the perilous nature of the lumbering ships, the soldiers, not as individuals, but the mass of people. I’d be lying if I said the hair didn’t stand up on the back of my neck when someone shouts hopefully “Spitfire” as the plane majestically sweeps the screen, but much of the film is build up for the third act, up until then it’s all primer, as the time jumps that have kept the film just about ticking converge into the predictable rousing climax. The events that took place at Dunkirk will bring a tear to your eye, as will this film. This isn’t so much a war film as a survival film and despite its shortcomings, it’s overarching bleakness delivers the point.