Christopher Nolan has been playing with a bunch of camera technology, and through it we have Dunkirk. On the beach, in the sea, through the skies, this is an insight into one aspect of war from three very different angles. Throw in some time lags between it all, and we’re in familiar Nolan territory, even if this is his first war…
After the stuffy talk down to you feeling of Interstellar, it’s a joy to see Nolan go back to basics in terms of storytelling. Dunkirk is a well documented part of the World War II, with a series of TV dramas and films already documenting the Brits stranded on the French beach surrounded by Germans disaster, but this modern retelling has some fairly impressive ways of showcasing the battle thanks to the three perspectives in play.
The beach offers beautiful wide shots, weary soldiers lined up with a shared desire of getting home. But the stillness never lasts long, and fire from the sky leads to a bloodless bloodbath, most likely so a wider audience can educate themselves on the horrors, but also the grit of these soldiers. In the sky we get right behind the cockpit, the pilots having to guesstimate more than they should, and on sea level we experience a civilian rescue mission which feels so quaint until all three aspects converge for one chaotic mess, as that was war.
A lack of Indian soldiers is a miss, but that on-screen spitfire is a surefire hit.