Dunkirk is a rare movie that manages to use war as a setting without exploiting the blood and gore that traditionally accompanies the genre. Instead, director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) relies on thematic opposites of silence and music, water and fire, to create a sense of dramatic tension that rarely falters for nearly two hours.
While inspired by a true story, fictionalized characters stand in for the real heroes of Dunkirk. During World War II, Allied troops were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The troops were rapidly losing ground and couldn’t evacuate by water because the war ships were too large to venture close to the shore. Desperate, the British requisitioned civilian boats to sail across the channel, bringing home more nearly 400,000 men.
This is not only their story, but the story of heroes who come in all shapes and sizes. If Dunkirk manages to teach us anything, it’s that heroism is not relegated to a specific few and that bravery is a choice.
Dunkirk stars Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh.
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