Last Sunday my sister and I went to see Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Stark and gripping, the film allows viewers to experience the events set into motion the end of May and the first of June in 1940.
The movie is about the evacuation of 338,226 men (including 123,000 French soldiers) who were cut off from the rest of the French Army by the German advance and left stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk. It was written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan and told from three perspectives—the land, the sea and the air.At first, it was difficult to follow the non-linear narrative, especially since the time frame varies from one week to one day to one hour and switches from one to another throughout the movie. On land, we see a week’s events through the eyes of Tommy, a young British private and Commander Bolton caught in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation. By sea, we join Mr. Dawson and his son who volunteer to head to Dunkirk the day before. In the air, we see what happens in an hour when three Spitfires take on the German Luftwaffe.
It contains little dialogue, projecting the suspense through the visuals and music. Written to accommodate the intensity of Hans Zimmer’s music, we heard the sound of a ticking clock throughout the movie. Thousands of extras were employed, and boats that had participated in the real Dunkirk evacuation were used, as well as using genuine era-appropriate planes for aerial sequences. Nolan was also adamant that the entire cast be British.
To those of you who like historical movies like this, I recommend Dunkirk. It’s the first WWII film I’ve seen from the British point of view. I saw a whole new perspective. It was an emotional journey with all the impact of Saving Private Ryan without the blood.
The reaction of the soldiers on the beach, hoping to be rescued and wondering if they would ever see home again, the frustration of British officers trying to achieve the impossible, the resolve of the pilots, and the selfless courage of those men who piloted the little ships of Dunkirk.
(Note: no recipe this time. I don’t think I saw any eating in the movie with the exception of bread and jelly sandwiches, and we all know how to make those)