Home means everything.
The visually mesmerising opening scene grabs you and doesn't let go, ever. Dunkirk takes place in three distinct timelines; One Week, One Day, One Hour (Land, Sea, Air) or as they were titled in the film:
i. The Mole
ii: The Sea
iii: The Air
"In 1940, after the invasion of France by Nazi Germany, thousands of Allied soldiers retreated to the seaside town of Dunkirk. As the Allied perimeter shrinks, the soldiers await evacuation in a seemingly hopeless situation."
Christopher Nolan is a master of visual storytelling and he, along with his team carefully measure with precision every inch of detail responsible for the feelings felt during Dunkirk.
This is unconventional, disjointed and completely stripped down of dialogue in his usual display of nonlinear narrative; always trusting the audience to piece together. This creates such a tense, emotional and somewhat overwhelming experience that enhances the viewing pleasure.
Time is one of the most important dimensions - you can't escape it, nor can you escape the foreboding feeling it gives you. The constant ticking clock throughout Dunkirk and Hans Zimmer's Shepard tone score barely give you a second to catch breath.
The cross-cutting parallel action is one thing, but you just 'feel' every moment - from the tide coming in and the foam bubbling to the Spitfire aligning the German plane in its sights.
Large format cameras were squeezed into real Spitfires to achieve an unrivalled sense of truth. The colour balance is quite simply first-class as are performances from Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and co.
Creating a modern war film with a PG-13 rating raised eyebrows but apart from one choice shot on the beach early on - the horror of war is still fully portrayed.
It's incredible to think that around 400,000 men were trapped so close to home - home was in their sights and ultimately a much higher number than first predicted survived thanks to the heroics of those in the air fighting, on the piers organising the evacuees into groups and the civilians who came to the rescue.
Christopher Nolan has created so many exceptional films but I believe this to be his first absolute masterpiece.