REVIEW: ‘Dunkirk’ is a harrowingly realistic depiction of the desperation of war


Dunkirk - Credit: Archant

Unlike a lot of war movies, ‘Dunkirk’ is a realistic depiction of the desperate fight for survival that thousands of men faced.


Dunkirk - Credit: Archant

With minimal words spoken, instead a ticking clock always audible in the background as well as the whirring propellers and catastrophic crashes as bombs drop from the sky at almost every turn, Hans Zimmer’s edge-of-your-seat score is full of intensity and suspense.

Cleverly split into a tri-linear narrative, on The Sea, The Land and The Air, Christopher Nolan’s heart-wrenching direction makes for a tough watch as thousands of British and Allied troops try desperately to scramble away from the body-covered beaches and onto the limited number of boats back towards ‘home’ as the enemy closes in.

Whilst the pilots do their best to take down the enemy from the sky, there’s a civilian trio - including two boys in their early teens - who want to do their bit to save as many of the injured as possible, heading towards Dunkirk by boat, joining countless other civilians that had been called upon by the Navy.

Whilst for most of the film there are few words, it doesn’t matter. The main characters still manage to convey their emotions and endless struggle, even Harry Styles, who delivers a commendable performance for his debut acting role.

More established names in the world of ?film - Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh - add to the intensity.

Harry Styles character sums everyone’s feelings up best at the end, when an older veteran welcomes them off the boat by saying “well done”.

Most Read

Not knowing that he also served, Styles says “all we did is survived”.

Challenging and impressively true to the tragic period it’s based on, nothing about ‘Dunkirk’ is censored or sweetened for the big screen.

Instead, it’s a brutally honest account that should be commended for not sugar-coating the harrrowing reality.

‘Dunkirk’ is now showing at the Light Cinema in Wisbech. Visit for screening dates and times.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter