Dunkirk: Christopher Nolan made one crucial and brilliant choice for this film: to narrate three separate storylines with different time compressions, in parallel. That keeps the tension very high for most of the running time, and editor Lee Smith is to thank for that. Another element that is essential for that is the very unique and evocative Hans Zimmer’s score, which works perfectly with the very rich sound design. The images achieved by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema are beautiful (the colors are nostalgic, innocent); it helps a lot that the film is far from graphical. The story, for all practical purposes, exists in a vacuum, as there is no historical context given; that’s not much of a loss, however, as the stakes are very clearly defined. The characters are well-defined (in two broad groups: duty-bound and survivors-to-be), but not very round. They are, nevertheless, well-defended (without major emotional outbursts) by the cast: Fionn Whitehead and Barry Keoghan are particularly engaging, but Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh are also very solid. Tough but very fine spectacle.