Rottentomatoes: 95% (142 Fresh / 7 Rotten) Average Score: 8.9
Movie Nation 4/4
A master filmmaker with all the state-of-the-art resources due a man who produces sci-fi and comic book blockbusters turns his attention to history with breathless, stunning results in “Dunkirk.”
Christopher Nolan's largely bloodless but profoundly harrowing war epic is the best film he's ever made.
A directing and editing masterpiece.
On one hand, he has delivered all the spectacle of a big-screen tentpole, ratcheting up both the tension and heroism through his intricate and occasionally overwhelming sound design, which blends a nearly omnipresent ticking stopwatch with Hans Zimmer’s bombastic score — not so much music as atmospheric noise, so bassy you can feel it rattling your vertebrae. But at the same time, he’s found a way to harness that technique in service of a kind of heightened reality, one that feels more immersive and immediate than whatever concerns we check at the door when entering the cinema. This is what audiences want from a Nolan movie, of course, as a master of the fantastic leaves his mark on historical events for the first time.
As it unfolds, “Dunkirk” provides one thrill after another, but it’s only in the aggregate that its power as a document of will and heroism becomes clear. It’s both a triumph for Nolan and a new bar toward which future action-based dramas should aspire.
Effectively one enormous, stunningly rendered and thunderously intense set-piece stretched to feature-length, Dunkirk thrusts you into a pressure cooker and slams the lid on.
The Playlist A
Nolan is a master filmmaker. That was never a question. But what seemed, for a while at least, to be up in the air, was if he was able to reign in his technical obsessions and studio obligations to tell a story that connects with the human experience in a singular and profound way. Thankfully, “Dunkirk” answers that question with a resounding yes.
The Guardian 5/5
Christopher Nolan's apocalyptic war epic is his best film so far
For it’s some achievement, this film. Very, very accessible (and that’s an important point), streamlined, economical and quite, quite brilliant, Dunkirk is – I don’t say this lightly – Christopher Nolan at the very top of his game. His best film? Maybe. There’s an argument for it at least. More certainly, it’s a relentless, engrossing, quite astounding piece of cinema (and cinema it very much is).
The Telegraph 5/5
Christopher Nolan’s astonishing new film, a retelling of the Allied evacuation of occupied France in 1940, is a work of heart-hammering intensity and grandeur that demands to be seen on the best and biggest screen within reach. But its spectacle doesn’t stop at the recreations of Second World War combat.
Entertainment Weekly A
This is visceral, big-budget filmmaking that can be called Art. It’s also, hands down, the best motion picture of the year so far.
Dunkirk is an impressionist masterpiece. These are not the first words you expect to see applied to a giant-budgeted summer entertainment made by one of the industry's most dependably commercial big-name directors. But this is a war film like few others, one that may employ a large and expensive canvas but that conveys the whole through isolated, brilliantly realized, often private moments more than via sheer spectacle, although that is here too.
Nolan gives us one of the leanest, most ingenious studio films in quite a while: an intercutting montage of competing timelines that expand and contract and collide in ways both inevitable and surprising. And somehow, it’s also uncharacteristically intimate.
Rolling Stone 4/4
The Oscar race for Best Picture is officially on. From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you like a shot in the heart.
Dunkirk would have been even better, though, if any of the characters seemed as fully realized as the aerial and naval warfare. Without that, it works best as pure sensory experience; incredible visuals, intense battles.
Dunkirk turns a WWII battle into a symphony. It's Christopher Nolan's masterpiece.
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a stone cold masterpiece. It's a stunningly immersive survival film told in 106 thrillingly realized minutes.
Total Film 5/5
Hoyte Van Hoytema’s beautiful, terrifying lensing – dizzying dogfights, suffocating sinkings and a cinematography-award moment when a Spitfire lands on sun-gilted sand – ensure that what could have been complicated and depressing is rendered with clarity. Thoroughly modern in its approach, yet classical in style, it’s a film that will appeal as much to Batman fans as WW2 scholars, and ultimately, the Academy come gong time.
Daily Mirror 5/5
This is Nolan's finest film to date, an immersive and emotional masterpiece and a superb return to form.
New York Daily News 4.5/5
Let other directors play with toy soldiers and computer effects. This is big-time, old-school filmmaking. Dunkirk isn't overdone. It's simply done epically.
Dunkirk is just a masterclass in the art of storytelling, with a variety of different characters, in different places, fighting their own different battles, all intertwined as we progress, without any sense of contrivance.
Even Christopher Nolan Skeptics Will Be Wowed by Dunkirk