June 1940. Almost half a million British soldiers prepare for evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk. While Privates Alex (Harry Styles), Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), and Gibson (Aneurin Barnard) await rescue, RAF pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) and pleasure-boat skipper Dawson (Mark Rylance) rush to help their comrades in arms.
Opening on the streets of Dunkirk, Private Tommy dodges German gunfire and propaganda leaflets telling him “We surround you”. From the first shot, Hoyte van Hoytema’s 70mm cinematography is stunning, drawing us irresistibly in to the frame. As the vista opens up on to the beaches and English channel, Dunkirk shows its hand as a film that demands to be seen in IMAX. One might expect such a canvas to be accompanied by Saving Private Ryan-esque panoramic carnage, but rather than giving scope for large-scale violence, it simply serves to amp up the tension.

For the rest of the review, head over to CineVue.