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Dunkirk (IMAX)


Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, James D'Arcy

Director: Christopher Nolan

A big-scale, blood-stirring account of the evacuation of some 300,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of the French port of Dunkirk to which they had been driven by the advancing German army in 1940.

Although not perfect, the film does achieve, especially seen in the IMAX format, a 'you are there' feeling, as you duck the impact of bullets, fight for life beneath the surface of the sea, and generally experience the sheer despondency and desperation (probably the key word here) of men facing their maker.

Individual characters in the narrative are quickly and incisively sketched in, from Whitehead and Styles' squaddies, through Branagh's resolute admiral, to Hardy, features hidden behind RAF headgear, as one of the Spitfire pilots whose daring in the skies saved so many British lives.

There are faults admittedly: the frenzied editing, switching between sequences, sometimes undercuts the suspense; and the film does seem a good deal longer than it is. Other scenes occasionally don't sustain their initial momentum, but there are some strong individual moments. On the whole, like the evacuation itself, it's a sterling job.

David Quinlan

UK 2017. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by FotoKem.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Jul 2017