Dunkirk is truly a spectacular audiovisual experience, an all out assault on the senses, unflinching in its portrayal of the pursuit of the barest tether to life against all odds. Hundreds of thousands of British soldiers are stranded on the French beach of Dunkirk, under assault from all directions with no escape apparent, and in order to evacuate them, a fleet of small personal vessels – pleasure boats, not meant to see military action – is sent to their rescue. It’s the type of film that could only be based on real events, because otherwise it would be almost unbelievable.
Steven Spielberg never really had an edge. In his old age, he’s really leaned into that aspect of himself – and in no film is this more clear than in 2015’s Bridge of Spies, an old fashioned morality tale about a Good Guy lawyer who is always Right. One person’s quaint naiveté is another person’s uplifting drama, and I can see why Bridge of Spies might end up being a polarizing film as a result.