Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Runtime: 106 minutes

Director Christopher Nolan delivers on this Second World War epic that is breathless and relentless.

This is Nolan's first historic film, so a change in genre for the writer and director who has found more of a home in science fiction and fantasy.

There's a constant ticking in the background of Dunkirk that often grows to a heartbeat and seems to be part of the soundtrack.

Once you notice this audio by Hans Zimmer, it's almost impossible to ignore it as it appeared to be part of the action and the musical score too.

It infuses the tale of the evacuation of allied forces from Britain and France with fear and desperation, and adds tension and claustrophobia to the events that unfold.

We see the problems of the characters on land, sea and air, with the events coming together and breaking apart.

Events are being shown from different perspectives and at different times but Nolan weaves everything together into a satisfying narrative.

Quite a feat in a screenplay that was only 76 pages long.

Characters are shown doing things that define them and there is very little romanticising or Hollywood spin.

There are heroic moments, but not in the way we are used to seeing them, and we are left to draw our own conclusions about what the players have done.

The aerial battle scenes are filmed with zest and realism and make for some stunning visuals, the action on land and sea is visceral and there was never a moment when anyone feels safe.

This is a masterclass in film making that avoids sentimentality and cliche, instead focusing on tragedy and desperation, leaving the viewer exhausted by the closing scene.

And yes, Harry Styles was very good too.