Dunkirk can safely be termed as Nolan's most accessible film in recent times. Frankly, this is no path-breaking war film that pushes boundaries or envelopes of any sorts. But there are two master strokes which he employs that elevate Dunkirk to a higher pedestal. One, Hans Zimmer's captivating background score is not just considered a separate entity but is intrinsically woven into the screenplay to the extent that it becomes the driving force of the film. Two, Nolan very well understands that opting for a linear screenplay in such a scenario could have potentially turned the film into a slog, which is why he adopts a narrative where all three scenes of action (land, air and water) are intercut with each other to build a sense of urgency the film relies on.
Constantly and consciously avoiding cinematic trappings like backstories for the soldiers or gory images of bloodshed and violence, Nolan makes his intentions crystal clear from the very first frame; to create an atmosphere of impending fear and danger of uncertainty looming large that hooks you to the edge of your seats almost throughout the film. I was lucky enough to watch the film in a 4D cinema hall which multiplied the already heightened sense of tension.
However, the film doesn't come without its share of flaws. For me, particularly, decoding the British accent without subtitles was one hell of a task, as a result of which half the dialogues went over my head and I couldn't grasp those aspects of the story.
Nevertheless, I'm going with 4/5 for Dunkirk. At a crisp running time of 2 hours, this is an overwhelming film you can't afford to miss.