Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is being hailed as one of the greatest war movies of all time, equalling, and in some cases surpassing, one of the most highly-rated war movies, “Saving Private Ryan.”
“Dunkirk” tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, where Allied soldiers were surrounded by German forces during the Battle of France.
“Dunkirk” is a tale of fear and survival where hundreds of thousands of British, Canadian, French and Belgian soldiers were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk waiting to be evacuated across the English Channel.
Indiewire’s David Ehrlich praised Nolan for his ability to capture the fear that the men at Dunkirk might have felt.
“Few movies have so palpably conveyed the sheer isolation of fear, and the extent to which history is often made by people who are just trying to survive it – few movies have so vividly illustrated that one man can only do as much for his country as a country can do for one of its men. But Nolan, by stressing that grim truth to its breaking point, returns from the fray with a commanding testament to a simple idea: We may die alone, but we live together,” Ehrlich wrote.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy called “Dunkirk” an “impressionist masterpiece” that focuses on the grim feelings the soldiers had during the Dunkirk evacuation as opposed to “inspirational speeches.”
“All of Nolan’s films are intensely visual, but it’s fair to say that ‘Dunkirk’ is especially so, given the sparseness, and strict functionality, of the dialogue,” McCarthy wrote. “This is not a war film of inspirational speeches, digressions about loved ones back home or hopes for the future. No, it’s all about the here and now and matters at hand, under conditions that demand both endless waiting and split-second responses.”
The battle and evacuation of Dunkirk lasted from May 26 to June 4, 1940. More than 338,000 soldiers were rescued over the course of the eight days of evacuation.
More than 68,000 British Expeditionary Force troops were lost during the French campaign, while most of their equipment and tanks were abandoned.
Then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the campaign “a colossal military disaster,” but also a “miracle.”
“Dunkirk” will be released nationwide on July 20.