Christopher Nolan has a track record of delivering fantastic films.
He is one of the few directors out there who is equally loved by critics and crowds alike.
His films have shaped modern pop culture, from The Dark Knight trilogy to Inception and Interstellar.
Dunkirk is the latest in his very high-quality list of filmic successes.
As the name suggests, it is set during the action of the British withdrawal from the French region of Dunkirk during World War II, across the British Channel from their homeland.
Surrounded by enemy forces, evacuating the hundreds of thousands of troops from the beaches is a near impossible task.
Nolan follows the evacuation through three different stories – soldiers on the beach, civilians coming to assist on the water and pilots providing cover from the air.
Each of these stories plays out over a different length of time: the beach action takes a week, the water journey spans a day and the plane action takes just an hour.
Each tale is utterly intense.
Dialogue is incredibly limited and the characters themselves are given practically zero backstory.
There’s no time to sit down and share stories of home, because the only thing they can do is focus on surviving.
Nolan has gone to incredible lengths to ensure the details are as realistic as possible. At no stage during the film does it feel like you’re watching something that has been constructed, it all feels authentic, like cameras were dropped into the war all those years ago to capture this action.
The cinematography is beautiful, the warships and fighter jets are evocative of the time.
There seem to be thousands of extras lined up in every scene, again adding authenticity to such a historically potent story.
And while Dunkirk gathers a host of impressive acting talent, never once does the ‘celebrity’ of an actor overshadow the role they play.
In fact, Tom Hardy’s face is all but covered for the whole film (which must be a habit of Nolan’s given he did the same thing in The Dark Knight Rises).
And Harry Styles, perhaps (whether warranted or not) the most famous face in the film, is actually a decent actor and holds his own.