Our Rating: 4.5/5
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy,
Dunkirk will leave you gasping for breath, you will end up wriggling at your seat and your tear glands would fight in distress to control the inexplicable emotions. You will be dead nervous, while some corner of your mind will be filled with optimism, struggling along with the helpless young soldiers at the edge of the death to survive. Nolan’s story telling is raw, unbelievably realistic, and the movie has that cinematic pleasure which Nolan never fails to offer.
For the first time Christopher Nolan takes a successful plunge into making non-fiction Movie unlike his previous movies. As expected, Nolan doesn’t disappoint. As he stated during promotions, “Dunkirk is not a war movie, it is a movie on survival”. Yes, Dunkirk is not exactly a war movie. It is a movie on survival. It is a heart-wrenching movie, portraying the raw emotions of soldier at the edge of death, racing against time for survival.
The movie is based on an unconventional evacuation of around 333,000 British and French soldiers during World War II in 1940. During the War, British and French troops were pushed to Dunkirk, a small sea town in Northern France as the Germans whirled in. The troops were encircled in a relentless poignant situation desperately fighting against time for survival. Nolan, the man who introduced us with the World of dark superheroes, science in a different light, introduces no superheroes in Dunkirk, no miracle of science. Yet, his brilliant storytelling with real superheroes in the form of British civilians, men and women who step forward to rescue the trapped soldiers will make you fathom the merciless emotional struggle of the soldiers, while enthralled by the cinematic brilliance of the movie.
The movie opens with an introductory brief sequences across the three planes of existence, Land, air and water. On Land, 333,000 French and English soldiers are trapped in Dunkirk, awaiting a miracle to happen amidst dwindling hope to see home again. England is literally right in front of their eyes on the other side across the apparent endless blue sea. They relentlessly wait for liberation in the lethal beach, encircled by Germans, plaintively handicapped bombarded from every possible sides. When you thought some of them are finally lucky enough to surmount the last hurdle and boarded a safe boat, sipping in some hot tea, it turns out to be the beginning of their end. Missiles fire from the top, missiles fire from across. Their boat starts sinking and it is another struggle to get out of the boat. You get more and more apprehensive, nervous till death by seeing their helplessness, the emotional trauma they are going through, gasping for breath while trapped inside the boat. As a ray of hope, miraculously, air and sea come together to rescue the young soldiers. Civilians sail their leisure boats, strongly united to save their soldiers, with firm believe on their air force who guards them from the air.
Dunkirk is a cinematic genius without any significant protagonist or crucial characters leading the movie or creating a huge impact to the perfection of the movie. Nevertheless, the brilliant performances of Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy cannot be ignored, however small their parts are. Fionn Whitehead, as an Army private along with Harry Styles and their undying struggle to get off the beach, the emotions they mirror are impressive. Mark Rylance brilliantly portrays a role as a courageous civilian who is among the group of civilians traveling to save the soldiers along with his teenage son and his son’s eager friend. Masked Tom hardy speaks volume with his eyes in the air inexhaustibly protecting the civilians so that they can reach Dunkirk to rescue the soldiers. His brilliant portrayal of strong grit and determination taking off Luftwaffe fighter one after another, not giving up even though his companion is blown down and his fuel is awe-inspiring.
The movie ends with the famous speech of then British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill in the British parliament, the speech delivered on the day Dunkirk evacuation ended.
“We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, and we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”
Dunkirk is another masterpiece added to the grand list of Christopher Nolan’s masterpieces. The entire movie sums up to be an ingenious piece with each and every scene beautifully chiseled out. The emotions of menace and endless fright of the young soldiers is brilliantly conveyed throughout the movie. You will be encompassed with uncountable feelings when you come out of the movie. While your mind will undulate between griefs and extremely disconsolate emotions, the cinematographic brilliance of the movie strongly encompasses your sub-conscious mind. Each and every scene of the movies gets stuck to you for a long time till you come back home and start your retrospection. Like any other Nolan movies, Dunkirk is also an unmissable movie.