On a grand scale, Christopher Nolan has tinkered with time and its experiential malleability to mine morality, regret, self-deception, and hope at the core of the everyman. With his latest, the World War II nightmare Dunkirk, he crafts a film where trauma is time’s displacing agent. While the director usually favors working your brain, Dunkirk is felt in the body.
To tell the tale of the week-long evacuation of 300,000 troops from the french shores, Nolan interweaves the battle on land, sea, and sky into one streamlined thread of formative daring. This provides an authentic experience of each individual branch of battle’s unique struggle while providing a unique way to present to the audience their disconnected efforts as one united front. The audience tries to keep on their toes much like the soldiers, but they’re never left in the dark. For as many films that purport to be all action sequence these days, Dunkirk is essentially that but with more than your amazement on its mind.