Every time I saw the trailer for the movie Dunkirk, I got goosebumps. The score and the eyes of the actors told a tale of tragedy in just those few seconds of film clips. The movie itself is just as heart wrenching and somber, as Chris Nolan (my favorite director), crafts a story centered on the mass evacuation of 400 thousand British soldiers from Dunkirk, France during the opening days of World War II, as the Nazis drove the British and French military forces into the sea, during what was called the Battle of Dunkirk. During the battle, the British forces were stranded on the beach as they suffered constant strafing and bombings from German forces, which sunk or damaged numerous British warships and rescue vessels. The British became so desperate to save their army, that they mobilized civilian ships to take to sea and sail across the English Channel to rescue their soldiers. Although this was classified as a military defeat, it served as an inspiration to the people of Great Britain who were able to save a large bulk of their army, due to the efforts of the British people.
Dunkirk is a three pronged story that takes place on land, sea and air, focusing on a couple of soldiers and airmen who do what is necessary to survive what seems like a hopeless situation. There is very little dialogue in the movie, no romance, and no levity during this tense, World War II thriller. The movie starts off with a series of bangs and keeps you running, ducking, dodging and holding your breath throughout its runtime. All of the characters are scared and doing anything they can to get off of the beach. Dunkirk does a good job of making you imagine what the horror of war and fear can be like. The tone of the film reminded me of the All Quiet on the Western Front (with John Boy), where you forget the boys in the films are Germans, and you just want them to make it through the war. The same goes here, these young men don’t have time to talk, get to know one another and have a few laughs or lighthearted moments. Their lives are on the line from the opening credits. One thing that you have to pay attention to, is that the three stories are told at different times during the movie, but they eventually converge during the end. That tidbit may save you from some confusion about the film. I am not sure of how historically accurate the film is, but from my general historical knowledge of the event, it gave a good description on how the events transpired. Is this movie the new Saving Private Ryan? I would say no, same genre, but entirely different style of movie. Learn something about the history of World War II and see Dunkirk.