"Slaughter Across the Channel"
A Review of "Dunkirk" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Christopher Nolan, Writer: Christopher Nolan, Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard
Rating: 5 Stars, SHOWTIME!
The story of "Dunkirk" is not a World War II story Americans know well. The evacuation of allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France from the beaches of the French coastal town of Dunkirk happened before we ever got involved in the war effort. Surrounded by German soldiers on the ground, our soon to be allies found themselves open targets from both the air and on the sand.
With "Dunkirk," Christopher Nolan sets out to tell a different war story and in his attempt created a flawless picture. From the beginning, this movie is meant to be different. Opening with a bunch of soldiers running for their lives, chaos is introduced from the outset and doesn't end until the credits roll at the very end. As allied soldiers begin stepping on the beach, Nolan lets their anxiety become ours. Surrounded on the shores and pinned by devils in the sky, it is all an audience member can do to catch their breath before the next rush of adrenaline is introduced to the system.
Unprepared to evacuate such a mass of humanity, the British Empire puts out a call for fishermen, boat captains, transportation vessels and anything else that can float to assist. These ships are guardian angels and our soldiers on the shore spend most of the film waiting for them. Behind all this violence, terror, and waiting is one of the most terrifying scores I have ever heard. Without a doubt in my mind, Hans Zimmer will be nominated for an Oscar for this pulsing and brooding madness.
Each scene becomes more menacing as tiny ships race across the channel and against the clock. Some of the most mesmerizing scenes take place when helmets of soldiers move in unison to meet their potential fate from above. Each and every time, I thought these lambs were about to be sacrificed. Each and every time, I held my breath hoping the obvious wasn't about to happen.
Of course, this is a story of history so the outcome is known. Yet, waiting for the volunteer navy to arrive is both frantic and a wish that Nolan hasn't altered history. As saviors begin to arrive, man's courage and sacrifice are enough to bring a tear to your eye. They also serve as a reminder of the evil men do to each other.
Be good to each other,