The evacuation of Dunkirk – a miracle in its own right – is the focus of this striking, nerve-shredding survival epic from director Christopher Nolan. Split into three sections, the narrative cross-cuts between perspectives: land, sea and air, each one spanning a different period of time. The tension mounts at an unbelievable rate. Nolan’s camera traps the audience in the moment so as to experience every inch of horror from eye level. It’s brutal and unflinching, many of the scenes difficult to watch because of how true to life they are, whether it’s the soldiers with nowhere to hide from the bombing or the pilots under immense pressure to provide protection. Nolan is a pro at this kind of film, his visuals capturing the scale and scope of the situation, from massive explosions that take out a destroyer down to the sheer terror on a soldier’s dirt-covered, exhausted face. The dialogue is scant, Hans Zimmer’s extraordinary score filling in the blanks and creating unease that digs deep mentally. With an ensemble that includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles and a particularly impressive turn from newcomer Fionn Whitehead, who should experience a lasting career, Dunkirk is frightening for how real it feels – an experience like no other that seizes and holds attention throughout.