Yesterday, my family and I went out to watch Christopher Nolan’s new film Dunkirk, which, if you didn’t already know, is about the events that happened in Dunkirk during the war. (I’d seen a lot of people on Twitter asking others not to spoil the film, but there really isn’t much to spoil- I’m sure most people know how it ended already!)
Anyway, the story follows several characters, and is in a non-linear narrative (which is apparently “very Christopher Nolan” style) which is made clear at the beginning of the film, where we see three different scenes; on the beach, the events take place over the course of a week; on the sea, the events take place over a day; and in the air, over an hour. I didn’t quite get this until my brother explained to me afterwards, and then the whole film made a lot more sense, because there were some scenes which took place at night, followed immediately afterwards by the fishermen in the middle of the day. As you can tell, it took me a while to click, and realise the relevance of the text at the beginning of the film, but in hindsight it was very clever and incredibly well done.
I’m not sure which character I liked the most, because, like most war films, it’s not exactly easy to enjoy. I think the characters were incredibly well casted, and was surprised how well Harry Styles did in his movie debut. Tom Hardy was an excellent choice as his role as a pilot, as were Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Brannagh and Fionn Whitehead, who was essentially the main character. The story begins following him and some comrades making their way to the beach, and Whitehead’s character joins the thousands of British soldiers waiting for British forces to take them home.
The main thing I took away from Dunkirk was the desperation to get home, and that survival was everything. This is especially highlighted in the scene towards the end when the soldiers find a boat which is unused, and tensions start rising when they start questioning whether everyone can be trusted. Like I said, it isn’t “enjoyable” in the normal sense, and I actually found it hard to watch, just because it felt so real. There were times when I felt sick- not that I wanted to throw up or because it was bad, or that there was so much violence, but more because I don’t know how anyone could handle being in a situation like that, and how men could put other men into a position like that.
It’s an incredible film, and I encourage anyone who loves film to go and watch it. Also my boyfriend was an extra because a lot of it was filmed around Weymouth, but that’s not the only reason you should go and watch it. It’s a major part of history which I’m sure will never be forgotten, and it definitely has no reason to be. And I think that’s why Nolan did this film- it’s not some war glorifying film, it shows the reality of it, and true human emotion when hope becomes more and more difficult to find.