Dunkirk ★★★★

nolan stripped down to the barest essentials, his signature formal structuring and literal-minded aestheticizing woven into dizzying, temporal action, cut like a barely recalled memory. steel, fire and bodies break, burn, collide and get sucked into darkness in plain view of the elements... the only option is to survive. at its best reminded me of one of my favorite modern spielberg moments, in Bridge of Spies, a prisoner of war is telling hanks that he didn't betray his country (he did)... hanks' reply, "it doesn't matter what others think. you know what you did."—the only option is to survive, assuming you can live with it. incredibly unfortunate that most of the Sea chapter and the last 5-10 mins of the film had to fall victim to the textbook sentimental drivel these movies often do (heroes, sunsets, knowing glances, rousing speeches etc), and couldn't instead end on the brief sequence of the survivors pulling up to the trains like a herd of zombies, a scene that's capped off by the most moving moment of the film: one young soldier petrified that no one was willing to look him in the eyes, leaving him utterly alone with the memories of what he'd done to get there. excellent, otherwise tho.

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