Wes’s review published on Letterboxd:
There's a moment in Dunkirk where three despondent men sit on the beach watching the waves. Next to them, a man begins walking towards the ocean while removing his gear. Tommy, one of the men sitting down, looks confused at what this soldier is doing. The soldier then dives into the ocean, never to be seen again. Hans Zimmers score pulsates and wails with spine chilling menace. It's the scariest moment in a film i've seen all year.
And that's what it's like watching Dunkirk. To be continually surprised at how scary it is. Nolan said among his influences included Alien, and that more than shows in how the nazis are portrayed. Completely invisible, reduced to their true nature. Beings of pure chaos and oppression. The opening scene of Tommy escaping the invisible nazis clutches is more reminiscent of someone in a horror movie escaping a blood thirsty monster.
I found myself easily caring about the characters and how the nonlinear narrative added to their development. One moment in a storyline takes on another meaning in another characters point of view later on. The sense of paths merging and drifting apart adds to the sense of tragedy and tension. While it might take me another rewatch to fully appreciate how the nonlinear works, it shows how tight of a grip Nolan has on his craft and how much power he attempts to pour into each image, not wasting a single frame.
This is definitely a movie we need right now.