Cast:Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney
Genre: War, Drama, Action, Adventure, Drama
Language: English, French, German with English subtitles
Country of Origin: USA-UK-France-Netherlands 2017 120 mins. (12A)
Released by Warner Bros.
'Dunkirk' isn't a narrative driven film with the expected behind the scenes shots of the German High Command, advancing Panzer divisions or British Government ministers lamenting England's imminent defeat. 'Dunkirk' shows thousands of defeated, traumatised, humiliated British and French troops, stranded, ghost-like on the beach at Dunkirk, the dead buried where they fell, and a tidal shoreline too shallow to allow large navel craft entry, bombed and strafed by the Luftwaffe, hoping and praying to get out alive. An armada of small boats would help save the day, while the RAF unseen by the ground troops, hold the advancing German divisions at bay. It's a time of chaos, horror and fear.
Christopher Nolan's film immersed in the horror and trauma of defeat, tells the story through individuals and time. Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), the squaddie views the carnage as he approaches the beach and meets Alex (Harry Styles gives a good performance), an RAF spitfire pilot (Tom Hardy) battles the Luftwaffe to hold off the advancing German divisions and Mr Dawson (Mark Rylance) from Weymouth joins the small boat armada with his teenage son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and his school friend George (Barry Keoghan). Others appear amongst whom is Kenneth Branagh as navel officer Commander Bolton, who surveys the carnage from a pier and Cillian Murphy, the 'shivering man,' the sole survivor from a sunken ship lifted from the sea.
German Stukas bomb and Messerschmitts come in for the kill and the stranded soldiers can only hope for a miracle.
Hoyte van Hoytema's stunning cinematography captures the chaos, horror and fear, the scream of German Stukas and artillary fire, backed by Hans Zimmer's superb score offers a vision of hell and from this 338,226 British and Allied troops were rescued in June 1940. 'Dunkirk' isn't a 2 hours plus,Hollywood blockbuster with the must have names. It's all rather British, just like the mug of tea and bread and jam which greeted the exhausted troops as they boarded a rescue craft.
Epic, intense, thrilling, powerful, mesmerising cinema. A should see, must see movie.
Interesting to note that Leslie Norman's 'Dunkirk' (1958) with John Mills and Richard Attenborough will be screened 20th & 21st September on Camber Sands.