Victory is Survival

Christopher Nolan is a Director that can divide audiences but there’s no doubt he can make excellent films. Filmmakers and critics alike have the opinion that he masks his filmmaking flaws. For example, by not using an exposition heavy script. In filmmaking we’re always told to “write what you know” and to use what we have. That’s good advice, maybe the next step is to work on turning those flaws into positives. After all, if you don’t understand weakness, you can never exploit it.

The major crux people had with Dunkirk is the lack of character which makes it difficult to care.

Nolan’s creative intent for this film couldn’t be clearer. It’s a mood piece, the aim of the entire film is to put us, the audience on the beach with the soldiers of Dunkirk. It’s not a typical Hollywood film with explosions and victory, it’s about failure and it’s about survival. This video essay by Screen Smart is an excellent look into why Dunkirk it’s okay that Nolan doesn’t focus on character. It’s not a traditional film in the sense that it has more of a documentary like style in both the visual and the narrative.


As the film’s tagline says “Survival is Victory”. Failing and retreating just isn’t the point, nobody expected them to win because they’ve already committed themselves to something that the majority of us would never do. It’s about bravery, it’s about survival. Without traditional characters the film is free to explore the collective experience of these men. Victory is survival.

Source: Screen Smart