While watching the film I got the impression that director Nolan did not know his story, or he lost it during the production or editing phase.
There is some parallel cutting that, while fine on its own as an exercise, adds little to the greater narrative.
There are some interesting bits -- like an appreciation of a fighter-plane's loitering time, and what happens when a ship sinks -- but the film as a whole flies over what happened on that beach. Where are all the ships and aircraft? And soldiers?
By the way, Junkers 87s did not release their bombs like that. They were dive bombers. Also, level bombers could not hit ships with the frequency depicted in the film.
The various characters read and resonate as real people -- Nolan has stated that he wanted to render a documentary feeling. There's a downside. As is so often the case with war films -- men in matching uniforms and haircuts -- it's sometimes hard for the audience to keep track of and quickly identify the characters.
One thing I particularly liked about Dunkirk was the casting of appropriate-age actors. Those guys were young. My dad was a teenager when he flew on Lancasters with RAF Bomber Command.
Dunkirk could have been a great film. Perhaps someone should try again with Dunkerque.
The above review was first posted as "Dunkirk" Beached" on December 28, 2017.