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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bravery and teamwork are prominent themes. Utilizing sporting prowess to do your best and help others.
Positive Role Models
Danny is courageous and selfless. Together with his fellow soldiers, he shows bravery both under fire during battle and when imprisoned and mistreated by his captors. The soldiers help each other and work together throughout. Characters mediate to diffuse potentially violent situations. Cooperation between different nationalities. French and German characters are played by British actors.
Violence & Scariness
Period wartime violence. Characters shot in the face and body from long range, sustain bloody injuries and die. Bleeding shown. Fighting with rifles. Weapons drawn during negotiations. Guns held to characters' heads. A handcuffed character has their hands hooked above their head and is punched as part of a boxer's "training." Boxing matches during which characters are punched, knocked down, sustain cuts to their faces and bruising. Character deliberately injures himself while chopping wood with an ax as part of a plot by the prisoners. Throat slit. Blood spray and bleeding.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Boxer competes bare-chested.
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Language includes "deep s--t," "bastard," "bleeding," and one use of "f--k off." "Jesus" is used as an exclamation. "Ali Baba" is used as a slur for an Arabic character.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Behind the Line: Escape to Dunkirk is a combination of a World War II movie and a sporting drama, and features violence throughout -- both in battle and in the boxing ring. The movie is primarily about Danny Finnegan (Sam Gittins) and his fellow Allied forces soldiers overcoming the hardships of their prisoner-of-war camp. Through Danny's bravery and the support that he is shown by others, the soldiers display various acts of heroism and solidarity, in particular by encouraging Danny during the boxing matches in which he is forced to compete by their German captors. Violence features frequently but serves the story. Soldiers die in battle when they are shot with rifles, and punches are thrown during Danny's boxing matches, in which the fighters sustain bloody cuts and bruising. The Germans are shown as cruel and sadistic, forcing Danny to fight when he does not want to and administering beatings to other defenseless prisoners. There is some bad language, with "s--t" and "bastard" among the characters' occasional exclamations, along with one use of "f--k off." "Ali Baba" is also used as a slur when referring to an Arabic character. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A war movie that does battle on a budget, Behind the Line: Escape to Dunkirk is a modest period drama that attempts to celebrate the familiar tropes of war movies where good triumphs over evil. Despite a decent opening set piece and some well-drilled performances in its boxing scenes, it struggles to sustain any real tension as it follows a group of Allied soldiers during their time in a prisoner-of-war camp. The characters' dialogue is mostly exposition, sucking the drama out of scenes and leading to very little actual characterization.
With the secondary characters in particular barely developed, there's very little to invest in here. The accents from the supporting cast -- who are supposed to be French and German -- also frequently slip. The plot to escape the POW camp features intermittently, obscured by the boxing matches Danny must undertake to negotiate marginal gains with the Germans. However, the escape is supposed to be the movie's climax, leading to a muddled ending that literally packs a punch, but falls a long way short of a cinematic KO.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.