This one was a bit of surprise for me. I love a good war epic, and that’s what I thought I was going to get with Dunkirk; instead I got something much better than most, though not on the scale I was expecting. By focussing on just a small part of the beach, and a small number of key characters (and you couldn’t really point out a lead), Nolan has created a masterpiece of despair, desperation, courage and hope.
I can’t say much about the script, because to be honest, not a great deal gets said. The officers are playing a grim numbers game: how many ships can the British afford to lose in the rescue; how many men do they need to prepare for the invasion of Britain; how many more men can they get on to a boat if they leave the wounded on stretchers. The men are waiting for a miracle, or they’re waiting to die; and I think this is what this film is about: what ordinary men do when facing certain death. It’s not about the sound of bombs or body parts being thrown through the air; it’s about the stuff that happens when the guns fall silent, the planes disappear, and you’re listening for them to return.
As I said; a masterpiece that shouldn’t be missed. Ten out of ten.