Dunkirk is based on the true story of the 400,000 trapped British and French troops in Dunkirk in the dark days of WWII. The Nazi's had them pinned in with no way home, and sitting ducks on the beach. Then "home" came to rescue them. This is a tough story to watch sometimes as little went well there for the Allies, but this is a remarkable story told very well here.
Nolan's movies for me, have always had a flaw or two that are big. They have all been way, way too long, and many of them with him being far to infused into the movie. Most of his flicks check in at almost 3 hours, and just need less of "him" and more of "them" (the people in the movie). Dunkirk is under two hours and the star of this movie is - the movie! This incredibly written story, (that Nolan wrote) is told extremely well through action, with little emphasis on dialogue. There is not a lot of character development, and needless side plots. And this doesn't smack of "I'm the smartest guy in the room" vibe.
This is filmed brilliantly, and acted same. Tom Hardy plays a fighter pilot here and tells his entire story in the small cockpit of his plane through a mask showing only his eyes, and he is terrific! Brilliantly done. The editing is amazing and we, and Nolan, can sit back and watch the movie itself tell its important story as if we are really there. This is exciting, suspenseful, and told as simply as it can be, and as it should be. This is important stuff here, and the respect shown to the participants is really on full display. Adapted well, written well, and directed with a restrained skill and a sharp editing blade, not generally displayed in Nolan films.
Dunkirk. Will get some Oscar buzz, and will be one of the best movies of the entire year. Just flat out great!