Movie Review: ‘Dunkirk’ Reflects the Ugliness of Humanity

By Xiaoxue

Dunkirk Poster
The image originated from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_(2017_film)

“Dunkirk” is a 2017 war thriller directed and written by Christopher Nolan, and also a British-American-French-Dutch co-production. The film is set in World War II and based on the true historical event—the evacuation from the port of Dunkirk, France.

The film reflects the most authentic side of mankind in times of desperation and difficulty. The dense plot, unique visual and sound effects, and actors’ exquisite performance make the film well worth seeing.

After Nazis invaded France, 400,000 Allied soldiers were stranded on the beach of Dunkirk without rescue. But in the end, small fleets formed by the army and civilian ships successfully rescued over 330,000 soldiers and brought them home safely.

The movie unfolds the story with the dimension of time—a week, a day and an hour. Compared with other war films, “Dunkirk” has no cruelty, blood, heroes or historical poignancy. Instead, it uses little guys and small incidents to reflect mankind’s instinct for survival as well as human selfishness and weakness.

In order to survive, the young soldiers in the film disguised themselves as medical personnel and boarded the ship for the injured, and some people even threw others off the ship. Many people in today’s society also act this way. To satisfy their vanity and live a better life, they try every possible means to cheat, exclude, frame and take advantage of each other. In this film, the ship that carries the injured sank at last. And the same goes for real life. When we take pleasure in others’ misfortune, how can we gain true happiness? For our personal interests, we have lost our humanity, conscience and virtues, and also harmed our relatives and friends. Thus, we become like neither man nor ghost. There is just no happiness at all.

Almost no German army appeared in the film, but we can sense the tension and pressure through its cinematography, sound effect and cross-cutting, as if we have personally experienced that the enemy would show up and kill us at any time. This reminds me of a Bible verse, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Just like the German troops that never appeared in the movie but would kill the soldiers at any time, Satan is a threat to our spiritual life at any moment. It tempts us to stay away from God, cling to the world, and follow the evil trends through money, material things, fame and fortune, status, and so on.

The soldiers in the movie need rescue ships. Similarly, we need God’s words as our beacon and principles of conduct. Only when we follow God’s words, remain vigilant, pray to and rely on God can we break away from the harm of the evil one and enjoy genuine peace and joy!

Although “Dunkirk” is a war movie, it has a deep meaning, which helps us gain some understanding of life while we are watching it.

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