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The film tells the story of the miraculous rescue of more than three hundred thousand soldiers during the Dunkirk operation that took place in the beginning of the Second world war. Events begin with the encirclement of hundreds of thousands of British and allied forces enemy forces. Trapped on the beach, and being back to the sea, they come face to face with an impossible situation, while the grip of the enemy are compressed more and more.
It's a curious mix of old fashioned mawkishness, dewy eyed, if understated, patriotism, and contemporary art house narratological experimentation. It is, appropriately, very British (as we like to think of ourselves).
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.