The opening of Dunkirk reminded me of the opening scenes in Fury, as my stomach clenched and refused to let me go. Facing hidden enemies and countless dangers, a few soldiers make their way through the city while being fired on by German soldiers. Through our vantage point (the lead actor Fionn Whitehead or “Tommy,” named after the generalized name for a British soldier), we see that the soldiers are not alone – there are hundreds of thousands of men pinned on the beach, awaiting evacuation.
And the German bombers are coming.
In Christopher Nolan’s film, Kenneth Branaugh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Harry Styles are the big names that show up throughout, but the film is an homage to the four hundred thousand men pinned on that beach, who history has somewhat forgotten. No individual character stands out because of the way Nolan shares the story, almost documentary and with little flash. It’s upclose and personal without ever letting the audience be distracted by backstories or personalizations that would detract from the sheer magnitude of the Allied soldiers trapped on the beach.
In the end, their heroism is representative of a greater good, in the face of danger, oppression, and war. It’s a reminder that we might not know their names, but they should never be forgotten.
On all of the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and Standard Definition DVD, there are a variety of special features. There are “Creation” features on the evacuation, the town, and the way the film was shot; “Land” features on the army and the costuming; “Air” features on the aerial shots in battle and from the cockpits; “Sea” features on the ships, the boats from England, and the battles; and “Conclusion” features on the gutwrenching tension and the spirit of the heroes of Dunkirk.