It is hard to believe that many people do not know the story of the rescue at Dunkirk in 1940. Just in case you need a reminder, allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France were surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. The Allied soldiers were literally trapped with their backs against the English Channel and were it not for the heroic rescue of the troops there, it might well have spelled a different outcome of the war. If the evacuation had not been a success, Great Britain would have almost certainly been obliged to capitulate. And it’s not unlikely that the whole world would have been lost, or would have known a different fate: the Germans would have conquered Europe, and disheartened and fatigued after World War I, the U.S. might not have returned to war.

This movie is a visual tour-de-force for its director, Christopher Nolan.  Nolan is probably best known for directing many of the current crop of Batman films (The Dark Knight, The Dark Night Rises, etc.) and he knows how to set a scene. However, it can be hard to follow as Nolan uses a non-linear storytelling scheme that requires a viewer to pay attention to what is happening to the different characters. If you saw the film, Memento (Nolan wrote it), you have an idea as to his creativity in relating a single event . . . even one as large as this.

Great acting and sharp editing help to bring history to life. Admittedly, there is not a lot of depth to each of the characters, but the magnitude of the historical landscape really doesn’t allow for deep development of individuals.  I also had a bit of a problem with the physics of an aircraft gliding at the end but that’s just me!

Go, enjoy and by all means take a date.

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