Nolan creates a masterpiece: one of his finest yet

Nolan creates a masterpiece: one of his finest yet

Nolan creates a masterpiece: one of his finest yet

Dunkirk
English (U/A)
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles
Director: Christopher Nolan

Dunkirk tells a very moving and mythologised tale of how 3,00,000 soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk beach in France during World War II. Despite the fact that the story is very familiar, director Christopher Nolan manages to stay away from cliches and give his audience a startlingly original work.

Cliched war stories focus much on what is called ‘war porn’ in popular usage, which is the use of excessive violence, blood and gore to depict the brutality of war.

One of Nolan’s achievements in the film is that he manages to do away with this cliched trope.

There are soldiers in drastic situations, guns, missiles, torpedoes and other things that you would expect from a World War movie. It is just that Nolan does not use them to depict bloodshed and create a moral outrage, which most directors feel are a must for any respectable war film. He pays homage to the victims of war in a far more nuanced way.

Nolan tells three separate stories in the film — one of the land, one of the sea and one of air.  On land, we see a navy officer’s dilemma in wanting to save his people even when Churchill’s concern for his troopers does not live up to his high-sounding words.

In the sea, we see a family and their friend setting out to save the soldiers from the German attack on a pleasure yacht although they don’t have even a rifle.

In the air, we see a couple of pilots who keep going even when their fuel is running out rapidly because a country’s spirit depends on the return of its army.

Dunkirk tells a story of how some people help others even when such a gesture is most certainly fatal, and that some others put themselves first even when mercy is an option.
It is a tribute to Nolan’s talents to say that when Churchill’s inspiring ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech is finally heard on the screen, we have already seen scenes that have lived up to those words.

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