When the movie was over I waited for my husband as he used the restroom. I stood on the plush carpets, the ambient lights glittering around me. Brilliantly lit posters heralded upcoming movies. Their bright colors, handsome actors, magic wielding gestures drew my eye. Star Wars, Thor Ragnarok, The Justice League. Movies no doubt about good versus evil, about the impending doom that mankind faces from some unknown evil force. Movies that boast of supernatural beings with supernatural powers fighting to save us mortals.
And then there was Dunkirk.
I don’t have to look to my imagination to find heroes. They don’t need supernatural powers (though an awesome British Spitfire helps). They don’t need bright neon lights to flash out their names, because being a hero doesn’t boast. There’s no pomp and circumstance in doing the right thing. There’s no red carpet but only the stain of blood seeping through the flesh of the man whose hands the hero pulls out of the water. There’s no grand finale when he lands on the beach because there’s no knowing if the beach will be blown to smithereens two seconds later. Four hundred thousand men. Four hundred thousand heroes fighting to save a continent, a nation, a squadron, an individual, your son or brother or sister.
These are the heroes and Dunkirk, the movie paid a righteous tribute to them-and to the men and women who are still enduring the hardship of sleepless nights, fighting fear not knowing if they will live to see tomorrow-braving the sight of their friends, their partners, their commanders die in their arms. The heroes we forget about in our cushioned chairs, our air-conditioners or heated homes in the winter, our cars, our luxuries, our full refrigerators.
A movie everyone should see. You, your spouse, your brothers and sisters, your children.