Dunkirk

When 400,000 men couldn't get home, home came for them.

Dunkirk is a stunning technical accomplishment – like all of writer/producer/director Nolan’s films – and also the leanest, sharpest thing he’s made since Memento.

Poster for the WWII drama DunkirkShifting between three perspectives, Nolan places us on the beach, in the air and under the water in late May and early June, 1940, when hundreds of thousands of British troops were isolated on the beaches of Dunkirk, waiting for rescue. There is almost no dialogue spoken that isn’t immediately relevant to the situation. The enemy Germans are never seen outside of their fighter planes. Everything is boiled down to survival from one moment to the next, driven by an unnerving Hans Zimmer score and a relentless, dynamic visual aesthetic in which the camera is either moving with the characters or holding nervously in place alongside them. The actors are grimly efficient, telling the story through body language and frantic sideways glances; the air between soldiers feels charged with danger.

In his first historical docudrama, Nolan – whose movies have been growing longer and heavier with self-importance over the years – finds new energy and new purpose. He confidently establishes the complex, asynchronous narrative and knits its pieces together into a cohesive whole while never losing the pace.

– Norm Wilner, NOW Toronto