Christopher Nolan wrote and directed an epic war movie; fictional characters based on the true events of “the Battle of Dunkirk” that took place during World War II. Dunkirk is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It lies 10 kms from the Belgian border.
The battle of Dunkirk was the defense and evacuation of British and Allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940. The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25th of May. In the nine days from 27 May–4 June, 338,226 men escaped, including 139,997 French, Polish, and Belgian troops, together with a small number of Dutch soldiers, aboard 861 vessels (of which 243 were sunk during the operation).
In regards to the Battle of Dunkirk’s importance, Christopher Nolan stated: “This is an essential moment in the history of the Second World War. If this evacuation had not been a success, Great Britain would have been obliged to capitulate. And the whole world would have been lost, or would have known a different fate: the Germans would undoubtedly have conquered Europe, the US would not have returned to war. It is a true point of rupture in war and in history of the world. A decisive moment. And the success of the evacuation allowed Churchill to impose the idea of a moral victory, which allowed him to galvanize his troops like civilians and to impose a spirit of resistance while the logic of this sequence should have been that of surrender. Militarily it is a defeat; on the human plane it is a colossal victory.”
The film’s narration follows the events from three different places through different periods of time: one beginning on the mole and covering one week, one on the sea and covering one day, and one in the air covering one hour. The movie containing little dialogue and the genius Hans Zimmer’s music helped building the atmosphere of chaos, stress and fear together with a great deal of suspense.
The story of evacuation, and the battle of the characters with time to survive is the main purpose of the movie, thus, the characters story and their background is not introduced or barely tackled. This is the first time -for me- to see this in a war movie, it’s usually following a certain person or battalion.
The director used practical effects rather than CGI which throws the light on the art direction and the production design departments. One other very attractive element in the movie is the movement of the extras whether on the mole or while escaping the bombing of the ships or event at the end after arriving home.
Sound design (editing and mixing) was also brilliant from the first bullet shot in the movie and helped me feel the tension of the war all along the movie.
The finale of the movie is genius, not as confusing as the endings of Nolan’s other movies, however still a deep look in the concept of winning and losing battles.
The movie is a must-see, it acclaimed positive feedback from audience and critics.
Dunkirk (2017) PG-13
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Raylance, Harry Styles
Written and Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Director of photography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Edited by: Lee Smith
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is an international co-production between the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the Netherlands.