The evacuation of Dunkirk was not only somewhat a miracle, but also one of Britain’s biggest achievements within the War. Over 300,000 men were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk; with the British, French and Belgian army surrounded by German Nazi troops, a successful evacuation seemed near impossible. Christopher Nolan has showcased here a project which allows us to lose focus of the enemies for once, and pay attention to the real heroes at hand.
The film is simple; simply get the men across the channel to safety. Firstly, we should acknowledge there really is not a lead role in this film. So whether you are assuming Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance or even Harry Styles is the main actor from the trailers you have watched, you could not be more wrong; to be fair, Harry Styles probably speaks more than Tom Hardy in this film. Nolan has purposely done this, the film is split into three narratives; land, air and sea. You have the young soldier Tommy (Fionn Whithead) on the land, Farrier (Tom Hardy) in the sky with RAF and Dawson (Rylance) on sea, and each man has a different purpose. Tommy’s journey is spanned over a week in the film, Dawson’s is a day and Farrier’s is an hour, nevertheless the screen-time for each character is almost equal.
If you are looking for a war film which portrays the military combat and gore, you are looking in the wrong place. Dunkirk is deeper than that; the film shows the efforts and technicality of the British army escaping an almost impossible situation. A sense of hope is transcended through the screens; when you are able to see your homeland from across the channel, nothing less is expected. A personal favourite aspect of directing used in the film is the fact that no awareness is placed on our enemies throughout the 1hour 45minutes of screen time. The fact I have even said “ours” is a result of Christopher Nolan’s attempts on giving all the credit to Britain and their allies, and not allowing the German Nazi’s to even have a say in this – patriotism at its finest.
With such little dialogue throughout the film, it is the perfect opportunity to fill the silence with tense Hans Zimmer soundtracks, which Nolan has executed brilliantly. Similar to the Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan has deliberately created scenes tailored for Zimmer’s compositions; as seen from the get-go of the film in the opening scene, a feature you do not want to miss out on with surround sound.