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From Dunkirk, photo courtesy Warner Bros.
From Dunkirk, photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Director Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic is a taut, mesmerizing bit of movie magic. Powered by Hans Zimmer’s ticking, driving score, Dunkirk makes you feel like you’re on that exposed strip of French sand back in 1940—and it gives little clue of the “miracle” to follow.

Nolan doesn’t sugarcoat wartime terror to showcase Dunkirk’s wartime heroics. Soldiers in the throes of unimaginable fear and uncertainty sometimes make some terrible decisions. But the film is nevertheless both thrilling and inspiring, lauding the virtues of community over the heroism of individuality.

“We live in an era where the virtue of individuality is very much overstated,” Nolan told Time. “The idea of communal responsibility and communal heroism and what can be achieved through community is unfashionable. Dunkirk is a very emotional story for me because it represents what’s being lost.”

I offered some thoughts on that quote over at Plugged In, and gave some more personal thoughts about the movie here. And given the critical praise, I may have more opportunity to write about this flick when the Oscars roll around, too.

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