NEW YORK (WABC) -- The new movie "Dunkirk" tells the story of a harrowing rescue during World War II, and the epic is already getting Oscar buzz.
The announcement of this year's Academy Award nominations is still six months away, but the Oscar race begins in earnest Friday with the release of "Dunkirk."
This is the closest we can ever come to living through World War II.
"We really focused on that as being one of the most important aspects of the film: putting the audience in that seat," said director Christopher Nolan, who revived the Batman franchise with "The Dark Knight".
He makes the best use of the giant IMAX format by not usuing computer generated imagery here.
The story of "Dunkirk" is told from the air, land and sea, where tens of thousands of small boats were sent from Britain to France to evacuate 400,000 troops trapped on a beach, surrounded by German forces intent on world domination.
The movie, which begins with an eerie quiet, then grabs you by the throat.
You feel the panic of the young soldiers. One of them is ably played by Harry Styles, best known for being part of the boy band One Direction.
A second story involves Mark Rylance, playing a civilian captain.
He's part of a flotilla sent to rescue the troops when bigger boats couldn't get the job done.
The three interlocking stories come together only at the end. By now you will be breathless with excitement, too engaged to notice perhaps these characters are pretty one dimensional.
Kenneth Branagh is so great he makes his admiral come alive.
Just 20 miles of the English Channel separate safety in Britain from the danger at Dunkirk, another factor that amps up the drama.
Plenty of movies have been advertised by a single quote from one critic or another saying 'This is the big one!'.
Well, folks I'm here to tell you this really is the big one!
If you only see one movie this summer, please make sure it's "Dunkirk".
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