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Harry Styles

'Dunkirk' review: By land, by sea and — especially — by air

'Dunkirk' review: By land, by sea and — especially — by air

With a bare minimum of dialogue, and a brutal maximum of scenes depicting near-drowning situations in and around Dunkirk, France, in late May and early June 1940, Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is a unique waterboarding of a film experience.

Many will respond to it, primally, as a grueling dramatization of what the English call “the Dunkirk spirit,” one that turned a perilous mass evacuation of British and Allied troops, under German fire (though bad weather kept the Luftwaffe largely at bay), into a collective show of resilience at a crucial early crossroads of World War II.

Operation Dynamo, Winston Churchill called it. Thanks to a series of interlocking lucky breaks...