Reel Shorts | Dunkirk

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

A World War II battle gets revisited in Dunkirk.

During World War II, French forces were joined by the English to defend their country against Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the Nazis defeated the unified army and drove them out of the country to the city of Dunkirk. Surrounded by the enemies, the army must find a way to retreat to safe territory. Desperation and fear grip the hearts of every soldier on the beach as they see attempt after attempt foiled. Yet, Churchill has ordered the evacuation of English soldiers in a massive retreat. Dunkirk is the telling of the story of the retreat effort.

Director Christopher Nolan brings the tale to life in a masterful way. Using Crash-like techniques, Nolan weaves four different storylines and weaves them into one complete and comprehensive tale where synergistically, the sum is greater than all the parts. Nolan has been known to utilize a coterie of his favorite actors, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy have roles in the film. However, the screen time for these two actors is minuscule. Nolan uses a number of mostly unknown actors (including One Direction’s Harry Styles) to create a film that is intense and dramatic filled emotion and action. The movie begins with an eerie lack of dialogue and never lets up on intensity from that moment.

Dunkirk is rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language but this movie is safe for most. A couple scenes of drowning, a couple of bombings and a number of dead bodies litter the canvas of the movie but serve the storyline well and are to be expected in a movie about war.

With a runtime of 106 minutes, Christopher Nolan has packed his normal three-hour masterpieces into a taut, emotional tale about war and survival. While the Battle of Dunkirk was a story of loss and defeat, Nolan takes the events and creates a masterful triumph of a film. The movie seems out of place because something of this quality is usually shown later in the year to contend for Oscar consideration. Nolan has turned in great movies like Inception, Interstellar, and the Dark Night Trilogy to name a few, but this film can easily be considered his best work to date.

Grade: A