Christopher Nolan’s latest film tells the incredible story of Dunkirk, a miraculous moment in WW2 history that is largely unknown outside of Great Britain.
Watching the film requires a bit of work by the viewer — stories that unfold in three separate time lines are woven together in the film (one story takes place over a week, one over a day, and one over a few hours). It can be tricky to tell characters apart, because the story explodes into action without any set up. But Nolan’s masterful direction and the choice to examine this little remembered moment in history makes Dunkirk August’s most important film.
The film is recommended for kids over 14 (here is review from Common Sense) and absolutely should be seen in IMAX or 70mm, because Nolan shot it on real film and unwinds the tale without either backstory or a lot of dialogue, so the visuals are primary.Younger and older viewers alike may need a little history refresher along with the film (here’s one from Vulture, which is best read afterwards to avoid spoiling pleasure of the third act heroics). The film requires a bit of work by the viewer to piece apart the three time lines in the film (one story takes place over a week, one over a day, and one over a few hours), and it’s sometimes hard to tell characters apart, but the masterful direction and attention to historical detail makes this August’s most important film.
Be sure to watch Winston Churchill’s stirring “Fight Them on the Beaches” speech after the film. The Prime Minister’s patriotic tone inspired his country to fight the Germans and is proof that what a leader says can make a difference in the lives of his or her country’s citizens.