Movie Review – “Dunkirk” – 2017

By Mica Wilhite

DunkirkDuring a summer swimming in sequels and remakes, “Dunkirk” is a much welcome reprieve. Director Christopher Nolan has skillfully adapted the extraordinary story of the Battle of Dunkirk to the big screen.

“Dunkirk” was about twenty-five years in the making. Nolan and his wife were sailing across the English Channel to Dunkirk and he was inspired to write the short sixty-page screenplay that ended up being the roadmap for the film’s production.

Several characteristics of the film initially appear as the opposite of what would be desired for a summer blockbuster. First, it’s a war film that “was not a victory and did not involve America” but required American big budget production and distribution budgets.

Second, in an era of seemingly unending film franchise remakes and reboots aimed to younger audiences, “Dunkirk” is the top movie at the box office with over $100 million in receipts in just four days.

Nolan’s brilliance as a filmmaker is demonstrated in the way he crafts the immense story of 400,000 British troops trapped on the beach. As a friendly World War II buff reflected, “he uses small scenes as representative of the larger whole.”

A good point well made in that Nolan himself has described his use of “precise mathematical structure” to convey the story to audiences. Fictional characters represent a set of actual eyewitness accounts and are endowed with additional meaning. The film jumps from story line to story line, but somehow it works.

“Dunkirk” (107 minutes) is showing at the Marshall Cinema with a PG-13 rating for war violence and some language. Call (903) 935-5662 or visit for a full list of show times. Then, whether by land, sea, or air, plan to escape to see this film soon and be inspired by the “Dunkirk Spirit.”

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