I am not much of a movie goer, but I wanted to see one, and so when a friend suggested Dunkirk, and I saw it was playing at a theater near me, I went.
You don’t need me to tell you that it’s a very good movie. Christopher Nolan has woven a tight narrative that captures a moment in history, rather than the individual stories. They are simply a part of the larger picture, none of them have a backstory or a motive other than to survive this terrifying moment. From beginning to end, I was on the edge of my seat, just willing all the characters to live. It is not a light entertainer – I can’t think of a single quip of the “see how the hero jokes in the face of death?”kind that scriptwriters insert into war movies. No, war is brutal, and sad, and horrible – and forces people into heroics for survival. The only real hero might be the young lad who hopped onto his friend’s boat, and died painfully of a blow to the head protecting the friend’s father. Many incredible scenes still stuck with me: The last sad landing of the fighter plane, when you know the pilot won’t make it back but keep hoping he will. The boat captain, a civilian who knows the painful reality of war. The French man desperate to leave the island. The Navy leader who decides to stay back, and help the French.
Like all good movies, this one will stay with me.
I also enjoyed this Vox review:
Dunkirk is a symphony for the brave and broken, and it resolves in a major key — but one with an undercurrent of sorrow, and of sober warning. Courage in the face of danger is not just for characters in movies.