A very anxiety-driven film that honed in on the despair that allied soldiers experienced when they were stuck on the beachheads of Dunkirk during World War II. Director Christopher Nolan has delivered us another technical masterpiece focusing on depicting the even itself while sacrificing a bit of the character narrative.
The lack of character development, however, does not mean that the film was devoid of great performances. Everyone in the assemble cast, including Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branaugh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy, were excellent, disappearing into their roles as soldiers of war.
While this was an entertaining film and a cinematic achievement in its own right, I would not rank it as one of Nolan’s best films. The attempt to keep the film somewhat historically accurate and realistic meant that it was generally low on action. Having said that, what action sequences we did get were jaw-dropping, particularly the aerial dogfights (even better when watched in IMAX).
Much attention has been paid to the scoring of the film. While composer Hans Zimmer did create a score that aided Nolan in conveying the sense of dread and desperation of the situation, to me, it felt like they over did it; many of the scenes would have been better if they ditched the score and just use the natural sounds of the environment (mostly, the waves and occasional vehicles and birds). This would have added a sense of empty and eeriness to the scenes.
That was a bit of nit-picking. Overall, “Dunkirk” was a cinematic achievement with numerous intense scenes and excellent acting.