Tom Hardy in Dunkirk. (Warner Bros)
Tom Hardy in Dunkirk. (Warner Bros)


5/5 Stars


The miraculous evacuation of the Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain and France, who were cut off and surrounded by the German army at the harbour of Dunkirk, France, between May 27 to June 4,1940, during Battle of France in World War II.


In a recent interview about the film Dunkirk, star Harry Styles, who plays a British soldier, said he now understands why Christopher Nolan takes so much time between his projects. It’s because Nolan fully emerges himself in the subject of whatever he is busy with.

“He invests so much in every project he does. He doesn’t just churn them out; I think he would rather wait and know everything there is to know about what he’s going to do, and if he’s going to do it justice in a film,” the 23-year-old said.

Once you’ve watched Dunkirk you’ll fully agree with Styles’ statement. Dunkirk is a well-crafted, thoroughly researched war drama that takes its time to tell the gripping real-life story of Allied troops that had to be evacuated from the beaches of the French city of Dunkirk as Nazi forces marched ever closer.

Told from three different perspectives - air, sea and land - within three different timelines the film masterfully unfolds to the score by composer Hans Zimmer. The viewer flies, sails and marches with the characters as panic and fear sets in. The timelines and perspectives crisscross until finally tying together triumphantly.

But don’t expect a gory war flick. Dunkirk for the most part is completely bloodless. Proving that you don’t need bloodshed to feel the true horror of what happened during World War II.

Nolan weaves the story lines together in a way that grips with tension before quickly releasing its hold. It rises and retracts like the salty waters on Dunkirk’s beaches, swaying back and forth between complete calmness and utter devastation. Silence is repeatedly interrupted by climatic chaos and shocking sequences that keep you clinging to the edge of your seat.

You’ll find yourself holding your breath and ducking for cover alongside the pilots, sailors and troops. Nolan’s Dunkirk isn’t a voyeuristic look into death and warfare at all. Instead it’s a stark reminder that war is tragic and the victories few.

The stellar cast gives powerful performances through meticulously crafted characters that emerge subtlely on the big screen. Styles in his breakout role deserves the praise he has received. There’s not a trace of pop band left on him, indicating that this might very well be his big leap onto the silver screen.

Then there’s Tom Hardy who has by now mastered the art of portraying a character using only the top half of his face. Hardy as Spitfire pilot Farrier commands the viewer’s attention using only his eyes to create tension and express fear. He creates a fine balance between calmness and panic.

The troops of Dunkirk knew that death was waiting around every corner and the harder they tried to escape it, the stronger its hold on them became. Nolan’s film fearlessly takes this on and undoubtedly emerges victorious.