Dunkirk is a 2017 war film written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan that depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II in May 1940. Its ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. The film was distributed by Warner Bros.
The film is split into three different stories:
- The Mole: Set over one week. British Expeditionary Force soldiers Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), Alex (Harry Styles), and Gibson (Aneurin Barnard) are among the 400,000 Allied soldiers who are trapped in Dunkirk, and they desperately try to find a way home alive.
- The Sea: Set over one day. Pleasure boater Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance), along with his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Peter's friend, George (Barry Keoghan), set sail to Dunkirk to help in the evacuation.
- The Air: Set over one hour. A section of Spitfire fighter planes, consisting of Farrier (Tom Hardy), Collins (Jack Lowden), and Fortis Leader (Michael Caine) fly a sortie over the English Channel to aid the evacuation by protecting British ships from Luftwaffe attacks.
Why It Rocks
- Despite being rated PG-13, the movie has a very suspenseful and uneasy atmosphere that makes you feel as if you're actually in the beaches of Dunkirk. Nolan intended for this film to feel like "virtual reality without the goggles", and it's safe to say he succeeded.
- Excellent cinematography. At least 75% of the movie was shot with IMAX cameras, and they're certainly put to good use.
- Hans Zimmer's score is very intense and suspenseful. The movie also has a nice rendition of Nimrod from Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations, slowed down to six beats per minute to breathtaking effect.
- The movie doesn't use typical war movie tropes, making it feel less like a story about soldiers fighting in a war and more about the war itself.
- Amazing usage of practical special effects. Even better is that most of the ships and planes used in the film are all real aside from some replicas and remote-controlled models.
- Realistic performances from the actors, including newcomers Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles (the latter is already known as a member of the band One Direction).
- Lee Smith's editing of the film won him the Academy Award for Best Film Editing (see reception below).
- Its Christopher Nolan does a great job for directing film once again.
- "We shall never surrender."
Dunkirk received universal acclaim by moviegoers and critics alike, who praise for its screenplay, direction, musical score, sound effects, and cinematography, earning a 92% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the website's critical consensus reads: "Dunkirk serves up emotionally satisfying spectacle, delivered by a writer-director in full command of his craft and brought to life by a gifted ensemble cast that honors the fact-based story.". According to MRQE, it has an average rating of 86/100, based on 128 critics. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 88% overall positive score, with 63% saying they would recommend it. It is widely considered to be not only one of the greatest war movies ever made, but also one of Christopher Nolan's best movies.
Dunkirk was the box office success, grossed $526 million worldwide at the box office against a production budget of $100–150 million.
Dunkirk won Best Sound for Richard King, Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo, and Mark Weingarten at the British Academy Film Awards, not to mention winning Best Film Editing for Lee Smith, Best Sound Editing for King and Alex Gibson, and Best Sound Mixing for Landaker, Rizzo, and Weingarten at the Academy Awards.