Dunkirk: Phenomenal

I left the theater exhausted. Despite the comfort offered by the recliners, I was literally on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The headline from one critics review said “Dunkirk plunges you right into the war.” And indeed it does. Director and writer Christopher Nolan has done a masterful job of recreating the evacuation of 400,000 British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France in June 1940, under relentless attack from the German war machine. All of us in the sold out theater were on the beaches with those men, an emotional experience to say the least.

Trapped on one side by the Ocean, and the other by the enemy who had pushed them back, their only chance for withdrawal was the navy, who despite their best efforts did not have enough ships. Those they did have were under siege from the German air force and offered little hope of success. The men were “sitting ducks” with no place to hide. It was then that the greatest rescue mission in history began. The British government commandeered every fishing boat, yacht, and sailboat along the English Channel and sent them off in hopes of saving as many as possible. With the owners at the helm, the “citizen navy” crossed the channel and between May 27 and June 4 saved the day, aided by air cover from the Royal Air Force.


Entertainment Rating: ★★★★

Rating: PG-13, realistic war scenes, body counts, no profanity

Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Movie, Best Director, Christopher Nolan, Best Original Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, Sound, Visual and Special Effects, Musical Score, Film Editing

The film is visually stunning, backed by a magnificent musical score. There is very little dialogue as the sounds of battle, the ocean, the music and the sights themselves are all that’s needed to convey the story. The “dogfights” between the German and British planes are masterfully orchestrated, some of the most realistic I have seen. But the heart and soul of this film are the soldiers themselves, knowing their situation is almost hopeless. Their faces tell the story, and as far as I’m concerned they all deserve an Oscar.

There are of course heroics at almost every turn, but none greater than the actions of the flotilla of citizen sailors who ventured into a wartime battle to save their countrymen. This is by far the best film I have seen this year, and I am sure there will be a number of great ones to come. I doubt any of them will exceed the scope and majesty of this one.


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