Back left
Back right

Dunkirk Movie Review

Reviewed by on Jul 20, 2017
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the action-packed and emotional film Dunkirk about the rescue of thousands of World War 2 troops by British citizens. Is musician Harry Styles great in his first real acting role?

By: Lynn Barker

When you see Dunkirk, you have to imagine trying to escape enemy troops who are bombing you from the air and on land and sea. Your only escape route is the ocean but there aren’t enough boats and when they come, they get bombed too! This is the trap allied troops faced at Dunkirk, France in the early days of WW II. Poor young soldier Alex (popular music artist Harry Styles) and his new friends have to survive and the odds are brutal.

Alex (Harry Styles), Tommy and friend hope for rescueAlex (Harry Styles), Tommy and friend hope for rescueCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

By Air, Sea and Land

It’s May, 1940 and young Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) is in Dunkirk being shot at by German troops. He escapes to the beach only to find thousands of trapped soldiers waiting for sea rescue. He and another young soldier grab a wounded man on a stretcher and carry him aboard a waiting hospital ship only to be kicked off and told to get in line with the thousands of others who can still walk. The Germans are bombing the troops. Where is the air force? Meanwhile naval Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh) is told that the French can barely hold the Germans back.

The Commander knows more bombs are comingThe Commander knows more bombs are comingCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The hospital ship is sunk. Tommy and friend pretend to have been on it and they are rescued along with another soldier Alex (Harry Styles) but the rescue ship is hit by a torpedo and they are sunk too! They have to tread water covered with oil. Tiny rescue rowboats can’t let anyone else on. They are full. The guys are finally picked up and taken back to the beach…where they started!

Peter and the rescued soldier onboard the yachtPeter and the rescued soldier onboard the yachtCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Alex leads the group to join soldiers with guns and they end up at a small, beached fishing boat. They hide inside waiting for the incoming tide to float the boat. Somebody starts using the boat for target practice, shooting holes that won’t let it stay afloat with so many people onboard. Water starts coming in. The guys are trapped below and start to argue. Alex thinks one of them might be a German spy and wants to throw him off. The tide comes in and the boat is pulled to sea and is sinking. Who lives? Who dies?

Alex and new friends find the beached boatAlex and new friends find the beached boatCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

In the Air

Collins (Jack Lowdon) and Farrier (Tom Hardy of Mad Max: Fury Road and The Dark Knight Rises) are brave Spitfire pilots firing at German planes that are bombing rescue ships and soldiers on the beach. Farrier’s gas tank gage is shot out so he’s flying without knowing how long he can stay in the air. Collins is shot down but his plane floats….for now. Farrier continues to down German bombers and fighter planes while he runs out of fuel. He saves several ships by downing the attacking planes but he does run out of fuel. Can he glide to safety? Will he survive?

Fighter pilot Farrier realizes he may run out of fuelFighter pilot Farrier realizes he may run out of fuelCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

On Tiny Ships

When the military, whose many ships are tied up protecting Britain, requests civilian ships to rescue over 400,000 stranded soldiers, Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) volunteer their small yacht and fill it with life jackets. Along on the mission is 17-year-old schoolboy friend George (Barry Keoghan). On the way to Dunkirk, they rescue a lone sailor (Cillian Murphy) from a fast-sinking ship. He is shell shocked and freaked that the boat is taking him back to Dunkirk.

Mr. Dawson hopes he can rescue soldiersMr. Dawson hopes he can rescue soldiersCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The rescued sailor fights to turn the boat around and accidentally knocks George down. He hits his head badly on a boat cleat and is barely alive! Peter is able to rescue downed pilot Collins who almost drowns in his own cockpit. A whole flotilla of civilian yachts, fishing boats and anything that floats arrives to join the rescue. Will George be okay? Will these civilian rescuers make it back home?

Soldiers lined up for rescue fear bombsSoldiers lined up for rescue fear bombsCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Wrapping Up

Dunkirk never lets you rest as you watch desperate, cornered allied soldiers being attacked. They were sitting ducks and it’s amazing that so many survived mostly due to the bravery of civilian British and other sailors who brought their small boats across the English Channel to the rescue in droves so trapped allied soldiers could live to fight another day.

Tommy runs for his life in townTommy runs for his life in townCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This is great storytelling, beautifully “you are there” shot and hauntingly-acted. Dunkirk is best seen in IMAX to get the full scope.  As the film sucks you in, you are there with a brave Spitfire pilot running out of fuel and still trying to down German planes which are bombing allied soldiers and ships. You are there with a band of very young, frightened soldiers trying desperately to escape France by sea and you are onboard with the captain and crew of a small pleasure yacht determined to make a difference by rescuing near-drowning men from the water even if they lose family in the process. On shore, helpless military leaders can only watch in horror. All this fills the screen as the three story arenas intercut together with very little dialogue needed.

The crew of the yacht Moonstone see Brit fighter planesThe crew of the yacht Moonstone see Brit fighter planesCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

All the acting is great and yes, popular musician Harry Styles is wonderful as a frightened young soldier who realizes just how far he would go to survive. If Harry wants an acting future, he’s got it. A trivial side note; all the young actors in the film are just gorgeous! The pulsing music in the movie is like a clock ticking down to disaster for all….or rescue. It adds to the film rather than detracts from it.

Tommy makes it to the beach to see it's hopelessTommy makes it to the beach to see it's hopelessCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

If you want to renew your faith in your fellow man, go see this film. If you just like exciting, narrow escapes and action, go see this film. It might be the most personal, edge-of-your-seat war film ever or certainly since Saving Private Ryan. Talented Director/Writer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception etc.) does it again. We go five stars.

Dunkirk Movie Rating: 5

Dunkirk Movie PosterDunkirk PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Dunkirk is in theaters Friday!


Have Your Say

Can you imagine how horrible these young military men felt or how scared? Are you a Harry Styles fan or couldn't care less if he is in it? Comment below.