Dunkirk

Critics Consensus

Dunkirk serves up emotionally satisfying spectacle, delivered by a writer-director in full command of his craft and brought to life by a gifted ensemble cast that honors the fact-based story.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 456

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 68,871

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Movie Info

In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

Cast & Crew

James D'Arcy
Colonel Winnant
Kenneth Branagh
Commander Bolton
Cillian Murphy
Shivering Soldier
Mark Rylance
Mr. Dawson
Jake Myers
Executive Producer
Hoyte Van Hoytema
Cinematographer
Lee Smith
Film Editor
Hans Zimmer
Original Music
Nathan Crowley
Production Design
Kevin Ishioka
Supervising Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Dunkirk

Critic Reviews for Dunkirk

All Critics (456) | Top Critics (90) | Fresh (422) | Rotten (34)

Audience Reviews for Dunkirk

  • May 13, 2020
    Dunkirk is why IMAX theaters exist and why people buy giant widescreen televisions as this film is a feast for the eyes that the chef Christopher Nolan has been preparing his whole life to give to the audience. When I had heard a small radio spot about the film being screened for actual survivors of the retreat of the battle of Dunkirk I thought to myself "Nolan is so sure of his ability to bring authenticity to the big screen and pay homage to this time in history that he is willing to let those who were really there be the first judges." It feels like a dire retreat from start to finish and the stakes are only getting higher and higher as there is this ever-increasing sense of tension in the score of Dunkirk that keeps getting more intense as the film progresses. Murphy pulls off an extremely convincing victim of shellshock and very possibly PTSD as a soldier who is marooned on the lifeless skeleton of his former ship. I can ramble all night but at the end of the day, this is a fantastic war film.
    Gregorio R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2018
    From Christopher Nolan comes the World War II epic Dunkirk. It doesn't really have a plot as such, but instead attempts to recreate a visceral experience as it following an anonymous soldier on the beach waiting for rescue, a pilot patrolling the sky, and a civilian boat captain making way for Dunkirk in response to the government's call for aid. There isn't very much dialog, and what little there is is rather incidental and only reveals fragments of the Dunkirk battle/evacuation. However, Nolan conveys so much through his use of the camera and the images, that little is needed. The desperation and enormity of the situation comes through, and is quite powerful. Despite its lack of narrative, Dunkirk is a compelling war film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2018
    Extremely powerful and exciting war movie about the evacuation during WW2. Driven by a non-chronological narrative in three point of views, the breathless editing and a nerve-wracking score the film delivers several nail-biting sequences and a very powerful and emotional ending. The cast mostly relies on no names and very few stars, all bringing very convincing performances to the table. Additionally, the film is beautifully shot. Another masterpiece by Nolan and a highlight of the genre.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2018
    Christopher Nolan's latest offering is an accurate representation of an event that occurred in 1940 during WWII. British, Belgian and French troops were cut off within Dunkirk, surrounded by advancing German troops. The allies were literally fish in a barrel to the German forces. They were stranded, being attacked from both land and air with the sea to their backs, nowhere to run. Situated in Northern France, Dunkirk was the location of the massive evac operation which saw large numbers of British civilians man their own vessels in order to assist with the rescue. Up to 400 various manned craft were voluntarily used and braved the English Channel along with various military vessels. Despite the fact that German forces had halted their crushing advance on Dunkirk (giving the Allies some time to organise the evac), the Luftwaffe were still hitting the port and its beaches and enemy troops were still on the ground. Nolan's film tells the story of Dunkirk from separate angles, land sea and air. The first angle is from a young British private called Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who has survived a recent German ambush and has made his way to the beaches. We follow Tommy as he tries to get on-board a couple ships only for them to be sunk by German attacks. Tommy eventually ends up back on the beaches with some Scottish soldiers and a French soldier. The second angle is from RAF pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) and two other Spitfire pilots who are part of the British airborne resistance against the German bombers. And the third angle is from a Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance), his son Peter and his sons best friend George. All of whom have volunteered to help in the rescue with the aid of Mr. Dawson's yacht. First off Nolan's film is not like most traditional films. There is very little dialog throughout the entire runtime; instead Nolan relies on pure visuals and the musical score to convey the films atmosphere. That is where the film may be problematic for many people, this isn't a war movie filled with blood, guts, gun battles and explosions. Obviously if you know about the actual historical event then you would know to expect this. The most dialog comes from the story surrounding Mr. Dawson and his son Peter, second to that would probably be Tommy's story, then lastly and most obviously is Farrier's story which is almost entirely conveyed through Tom Hardy's facial expressions. Now whilst I did fully appreciate Nolan's vision here, I have to admit to finding it somewhat odd watching a movie like this with little dialog. Looking at Farrier's story (the air section), it was indeed very impressive to watch these old Spitfires dogfight with German Messerschmitt's. Naturally it wasn't shot in the typical Hollywood action sequence type way. What you get are highly realistic air sequences which show the planes trying to manoeuvre into position to be able to attack each other. When the attacks come they are short bursts with very little fanfare. When a plane gets hit nothing much happens at first. The pilots communications are brief and not filled with silly quips. Basically overall it kinda feels like you're watching some kind of airshow display or training video, the fact everything is shot in natural light kinda adds to that. The story surrounding Tommy is probably the most Hollywood-esque part of the movie, but it still may not please some. Once again this is a highly realistic vision, there are no 'Saving Private Ryan' sequences on this beach. The plot is straight forward, Tommy and another soldier try to board ships by using an injured soldier as their ticket essentially. That seems almost wrong but in the grand scheme of things who wouldn't do that? The fact that they try to get away twice and both times the ships are sunk did seem almost too unlucky to me. The fact that later on they reach another ship and yet again it gets sunk, kinda felt a bit overly dramatic perhaps. Did that many ships get sunk in the real event? Tommy's tale certainly has the most cinematic visuals of the film, the numerous shots of the troops lined up on the beach are incredibly haunting, yet beautiful. Its easily the most intriguing of the three main plots but at the same time its also a bit too 'Spielbergian' methinks. When Tommy meets up with the Scottish soldiers things get a tad by the numbers and a little dull. I also felt the death of the French soldier (who was thought to be a Brit) was again a little touch of Hollywood which maybe wasn't required. It was too predictable, the minute he is exposed as French you kinda knew his number was up. I should add that whilst all this is going on we get little snippets of Kenneth Branagh as a Commander overseeing the operation from the beach. Again like Hardy he tends to emote through facial expressions more than dialog. For me the weakest of the stories was following Mr. Dawson and his son. Call me shallow but this was simply because it wasn't really that interesting. I found myself yearning for the plot to get back to the beaches, or in the air with Farrier. Don't get me wrong, Mark Rylance puts in a great performance as the calm and steadfast Dawson, and its important to see the civilian angle of this story. The thing is it just wasn't really that intriguing watching this trio sale slowly towards Dunkirk. The subplot of them rescuing a stranded officer (Cillian Murphy) from a shipwreck was also something of an odd addition. Murphy's officer is shell-shocked, he argues about going to Dunkirk and tries to stop Dawson. This leads to George (Peter's best friend) falling and badly injuring his head...which leads to his eventual death! I really didn't see the point in all this because it goes nowhere. Dawson and Peter lie to the shell-shocked officer about it and that's kinda that. Neither Dawson or Peter came across as upset when the incident occurred or when George dies. You're left wondering what happens with that. Does the officer get done for murder upon return to England? Would he be let off because of the fact he was shell-shocked? Would I say this is one of the greatest war films ever made? In terms of realism yes. In terms of score, cinematography and craftsmanship yes. In terms of engagement (for me the viewer) I'd say its up there, but maybe not the best. I totally and utterly shower praise on Nolan and co for their vision and what they have achieved here, the authenticity being the number one factor of course (score not far behind). But I cannot deny the film is a little slow at times. I hate myself for saying this but I did find myself yearning for just a touch of romanticised heroism or emotion just to get those waterworks going. The final sequence showing Farrier taking out one last German bomber before he is forced to land in enemy territory from lack of fuel, was so fecking awesome. Seeing the Spitfire land in one shot on the Dunkirk beach was fantastic, as was seeing a stoic Farrier stare into the camera as he is captured and led away. But dagnabbit Chris, I just needed a hint, a mere drop of glossy sentimentality. The film was [b]so[/b] realistic that it didn't really feel like a film at times (again I hate myself for saying this). But bottom line, this film is a tour de force that ignores manufactured heroics and stereotypical Hollywood-isms.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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