Dunkirk movie, directed by Christopher Nolan, recounts an early harrowing campaign in World War II that took place months after Germany invaded Poland and weeks after Hitler’s forces started rolling into the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.
Dunkirk full movie has characteristically complex and condensed vision of war. In a movie, that is insistently humanizing despite its monumentality, a balance that is as much a political choice as an aesthetic one. The movie also enriches the texture of the image as it drawing you to crucial given the minimalist dialogue.
Dunkirk movie is based on a real campaign that began in late May 1940 in the French port city of Dunkirk. About 400,000 Allied soldiers were penned in by the Germans. The British initiated a seemingly impossible rescue to avoid being capture or possible annihilation of their troops. The campaign is named Operation Dynamo having assumed near-mythic status in British history and been revisited in books and onscreen. Dunkirk takes place in battle, but it is a story of suffering and survival. Nolan largely avoids the bigger historical picture as well as the strategizing on the front and in London, where the new Winston Churchill was facing the horrifying possibility of diminished military muscle.
Dunkirk movie opens with six soldiers walking away from the camera down a spookily deserted street. Their bodies are shown head to toe, and they are flanked by low buildings as the sort of look so charming in touristic photographs. Flyers swirl around the men like autumn leaves, and few grab at them to take a look.
Then, one of them slurps water from a nearby garden hose, another searches for smoke by poking a hand through an open window, and another reads one of the papers showing a map of the surrounding area encircled by arrows and ominous words of warning in English. He then crumples it, unbuckles his belt and begins to squat. It’s a somewhat perplexing, awkwardly funny moment. You don’t know whether to laugh, but before you decide, shots ring out and the soldiers start running. The camera quickly following. The haunted emptiness is suddenly filled with the sounds of frantic escape and whizzing bullets. They begin falling down, and only the unbuckling one remains. He scrambles over a gate and onto a beach where thousands of other soldiers are massed and waiting.
Soon, the scene switches to another port, where a British teenager, George (Barry Keoghan), is helping a father and son (Mark Rylance and Tom Glynn-Carney) unload a small yacht that’s been requisitioned for the Dunkirk mission. The three of them set sail on their own joining a civilian fleet that’s racing across the Channel. A third astounding narrative section soon opens in the air. Three British Spitfire planes are quickly engaged in battle against German planes headed for Dunkirk racing through the vast canopy and bobbing under clouds as the sun flashes, temporarily blinding them.
Nolan’s signature elastic approach to narrative works beautifully in Dunkirk movie. It oscillates among three sections, each largely taking place in distinct locations in different time frames. The events on the beach unfold during one week, the events on the sea occur in one day, and the air scenes transpire in an hour. At first the dividing lines aren’t always obvious as Nolan cutting from daytime scenes on the ground to those in the sea and in the air. Once he begins switching between day and night, the lines dividing the three narrative segments mostly sharpen. He keeps them all in dynamic play with one another. At one point, Nolan pulls the three narrative strands tightly together and creates a tremendous enveloping sense of bone-deep dread.
Dunkirk is a World War II movie, you can tell that by looking at soldiers as they lived, experienced near-death moments and their bodies lie under siege. Nolan’s unyielding emphasis on the soldiers blurs history even as it brings the present and its wars startlingly into view. The movie is a Tour de Force of cinematic craft and technique, but one that is unambiguously in the service of a sober, sincere and profoundly moral story that closes the distance between yesterday’s fights and today’s. Nolan closes that distance cinematically with visual sweep and emotional intimacy, with images of warfare and huddled, frightened survivors, and with Hans Zimmer’s score reverberate through your body.