Dunkirk was not your typical war movie. Unlike many recent war movies showcasing various points of the War on Terror, Dunkirk takes us back to World War II and does not so much feature main characters as it focuses in on the experience of the thousands of stranded soldiers as a whole. Many have claimed that this is one of Nolan’s best war movies if not one of the best war movies ever created.
I found it interesting that a movie on a screen that didn’t have the ability to harm me made me feel so claustrophobic. In a scene where soldiers were drowning, the camera would sink underneath sea level as well, simulating the sounds and feelings of gasping for air. During scenes with soldiers scrambling to escape bombs, cameras intervened between actors on cramped and broken piers to emphasize how truly trapped these soldiers were.
The movie is based on the Battle of Dunkirk in Dunkirk, France. Allied soldiers are stranded on a beach in a town overtaken by Nazis with little food, no shelter, and rarely a boat to come pick anyone up. Stranded, the soldiers could do nothing but pray for survival. This movie is truly about this one battle, these thousands of soldiers, and the panic they lived through for ten days.
The film employed thousands upon thousands of extra instead of opting for digital enhancements. These extras braved the cold ocean waters at early hours of the morning while gathering on boats actually used during the Battle of Dunkirk. Dunkirk truly is a wonderful exposé of this battle during World War II. It exemplifies why authenticity is so important in movies.