Dunkirk is a great film but it is not an enjoyable film as such, more of an experience. You really do get a little feeling of the horror of war and the lengths and struggles people will go to, to survive. In fact, Dunkirk was more about survival from impending doom than anything else and there is a great deal of tension throughout (helped massively by the soundtrack).
The overall story of Dunkirk is obviously about the soldiers stuck there waiting to get home but the film is a bit different in that it’s divided up into 3 or 4 individual stories that cover the different aspects of the situation. This does give you some variety but also breaks up each story by flitting between them.
As you would expect from Christopher Nolan, the direction is superb and there are some fantastic action sequences as well as some real nail-biting moments that keep you on your toes. However, he’s taken some real liberties with the story and sometimes it feels a tad unbelievable. Dunkirk also lacks the epic nature of Saving Private Ryan and I was a little disappointed not to feel part of something bigger.
All acting is top-notch with even Harry Styles doing a great job, although for me, Mark Rylance is the stand out performer (once again).
I must mention Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack as it fits perfectly for the film’s needs, i.e. it gives you a massive sense of impending doom by continually building up the tension (I can’t imagine it will be a good listen on its own though).
Couple of small points that I remember; there is very little talking, lots of great cinematography but not much on the dialogue front (that’s not a bad thing though as it leaves you to listen to the music to build the tension) and I don’t remember seeing many, if any Germans (which is somewhat odd).
Verdict: A superb war film that just lacked a little something to take it into the War film elite.