Written and directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception), this World War II epic dramatizes the heroic three-day effort to evacuate French, British, and Belgian troops from the French port town of Dunkirk before German forces could move in and eviscerate them. Nolan carves up the operation into three stories that play out on land (with Fionn Whitehead as a British soldier trying to survive aerial bombardment on the beach), in the air (with Tom Hardy as a dashing RAF pilot chasing German planes), and on the water (with Mark Rylance as one of the hundreds of private British boatsmen who set off across the English Channel to rescue soldiers). The characters tend to get lost in the shuffle, and Nolan makes little effort to explain the evacuation’s context in the wider war or even the Battle of Dunkirk. But as a big-screen experience this can be overwhelming, especially when characters are trapped below oncoming planes or inside beleaguered sea vessels; few war movies have communicated more viscerally how it feels to be a sitting duck. With Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh.