Nolan’s celebrated story of the evacuation at Dunkirk trades guts and glory for a 12A airbrushed rendering of history. The true story is much more complex – and moving

Is it just me? Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk has bowled over critics and taken $100m (£77m) at the global box office in barely a week, but it left me cold.

The subject sounds enticing: the legend of Dunkirk tells of an array of unprepared civilians assembling an armada of fishing boats, pleasure craft, yachts, motor launches, paddle steamers, barges and lifeboats to rescue an army from a battle-swept beach. What might cinema reveal of the logistical skills, resourcefulness, courage, doubts, arguments and fears of the citizenry involved?

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