Occasional bursts of flames, imperiling many of the effectively nameless characters, come as a relief from the chromatic tedium.
The movie works. Time and again, the action swells and dips, like a wave, then suddenly delivers a salty slap in the face.
It is hard to imagine a better tribute to this victory of survival than Nolan's spare, stunning, extraordinarily ambitious film.
Technically awe-inspiring, narratively inventive and thematically complex, Dunkirk reinvigorates its genre with a war movie that is both harrowing and smart.
It's an extraordinary undertaking, and Nolan delivers a spellbinding ride. Out of the depths or man-made horror, he's created a gripping tale of human resolve.
Despite all the substandard characterization, what we do see sucks us in enough to keep us invested and, at times, riveted.
Dunkirk's plot is fairly uncomplicated. The thrill is in the deeply exhilarating pace at which the action unfolds.
Christopher Nolan's genius for treating movies like chess matches... is brilliantly employed in this account of the British (and French) attempt to retreat across the English Channel from the coastal city of Dunkirk in the early years of World War II.
It's a series of riveting tableaux, but the human center is lacking.