7:30 PM, 21st September, 2017
From May 26 to June 4, 1940, the British Expeditionary Forces that had landed in France were cut off and surrounded by the German army on the beach of Dunkirk. The German generals ordered the Luftwaffe Air Force to finish off the remaining British soldiers from the air. The situation was dire, and as the British public learned more about the plight of their stranded soldiers, citizen ships were enlisted to aid in the evacuation of over 300,000 men.
Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) – with his clinical, clean filmmaking and emphasis on epic scope and beauty – paints a complete picture of events: of both the disastrous retreat and the miraculous evacuation. Where previous filmic adaptations like Joe Wright’s Atonement focussed on the mess and despair of the situation, Nolan’s film is attuned to an different emotional rhythm.
Dunkirk is, of course, spectacular in its visual style. Nolan’s insistence on practical effects, large cohorts of extras, and the use of 70mm film contribute to a feast for the senses. He is primarily an ideas man: where his films may lack in character and emotional resonance, they are always fantastic works of craftsmanship with heavy thematic weight. This film offers differing perspectives from the land, air and sea, evoking despair, frustration, anger, hopelessness, hope, resilience and even triumph.