Dunkirk is an impressionist masterpiece. These are not the first words you expect to see applied to a giant-budgeted summer entertainment made by one of the industry's most dependably commercial big-name directors. But this is a war film like few others, one that may employ a large and expensive canvas but that conveys the whole through isolated, brilliantly realized, often private moments more than via sheer spectacle, although that is here too.
DUNKIRK opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.