A mundane and shocking beginning to a dramatic, disturbing, gut-wrenching, and emotional movie. Its drawbacks are that it seems too long, it is chopped up, there’s far too much exposition, and it fails to effectively show some of the dissonance between the patriotic action and the deadly hanging around.
The loud and disturbing sound effects and the gripping Hans Zimmer soundtrack combine to lend empathy and emotion to a greater extent than the dialog and acting convey.
Poor Kenneth Branagh is under-used. Being either a narrative device, or a foil for other commentary.
Most gripping are the RAF scenes. The technical flying details and the combat render these credible and engaging.
The principal small boat scenes are good and create their own story in the whole. Though again, there’s a bit too much saying rather than showing.
Overall, it’s well worth seeing for its illustration of the deadliness of war and the lack of separation of heroes and regular men with regular concerns. ‘Men’ because there’s a mere handful of women in the whole picture.