Ranking The Young Men Of Dunkirk, From Harry Styles To Everyone Else
The first thing I did when I left my screening of Dunkirk was type the words “the hot Scottish blonde in Dunkirk” into Google. (The more precise the better.) Mind you, adult blond males usually freak me out, but director Christopher Nolan, an adult blonde himself, made some inspired casting decisions.
Luckily, Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan was already on that beat with a handy guide to the indistinguishable young men in the film. I discovered that Jack Lowden was the Scotsman I was looking for—and that he was playing Morrissey in a forthcoming British biopic. Wait. What?
Since the depths of my stalking know no bounds, I decided to rank the handsome young men of Dunkirk for no other reason that to give me peace of mind. This list is completely subjective, but there are a few ground rules. One, no olds. (Yes, that includes the perpetually young-looking Cillian Murphy, who is somehow 41 years old.) Two, this ranking is not based on looks. Instead, I’m taking into account their individual performances in the film, as well as their future projects and social media footprints. And three, Harry Styles is not #1—so don’t @ me!!!
Anyway, just know that it was no easy task and all of these young men, many of them relative unknowns, are brilliant in Dunkirk. Not to mention, they all starred in a Christopher Nolan film, so THEY ALL WIN AT LIFE.
6. Tom Glynn-Carney, 22
Dunkirk may be this young actor’s first feature film, but the 22-year-old redhead (gasp) has been in several professional stage productions, including a current role in Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed play The Ferryman. (For what it’s worth, his movie dad, Mark Rylance, starred in Butterworth’s excellent play Jerusalem in 2009. I saw it three times, twice in London and once in New York, and openly sobbed each time.) Tom Glynn-Carney portrays Peter, the preppy blond son of Rylance’s civilian captain Dawson. He spends the majority of his scenes on the Moonstone, but he does play a crucial part in the film’s final act. He also looks like he belongs in a Burberry campaign. Not to mention that if they were casting the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Childtoday, he’d be a shoo-in for Scorpius Malfoy. Oh, and he’s also adorable.
5. Aneurin Barnard, 30
There’s not a whole lot of dialogue to begin with in Dunkirk. So the fact that Aneurin Bernard’s character Gibson doesn’t say a single word until the intense third act, when Harry Styles and the rest of the men in the boat accuse him of being a German spy, is really saying something. Or, you know, nothing.
That being said, the Welsh actor carries all of the emotion in his face—and that’s no easy task. Although, it’s kinda a shame because Barnard has a lovely voice. In 2013, he starred in the British movie musical Hunky Dory alongside Minnie Driver. (You can watch his cover of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” here.) He also made his West End debut as Melchior in the London production of Spring Awakening. (Here’s a clip of him singing “Left Behind” on a radio show.) So, yes, he has the voice of an angel. I only wish he got to use it in the film. Here’s hoping there are more musicals in his future. I’m also convinced that he’s the most polite person on Twitter.
4. Fionn Whitehead, 20
I know it’s a controversial choice to rank the only guy on the poster in the middle, but seeing how Fionn Whitehead just started this whole acting thing, he’s going to be just fine. He completely held his own during the Dunkirk press tour with Styles. Honestly, anyone who can out-charm Harry Styles during a junket interview is destined for stardom. The former barista already has a few big projects in the works, including The Children Act opposite Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and director Sebastian Schipper’s Caravan. Sadly, he doesn’t do social media, which is a bummer for me but I guess great for his artistic integrity or whatever. He’ll sadly never know what I think of his earring. (I love it.)
3. Jack Lowden, 27
While we never really get to know any of the characters in Dunkirkoutside of the context of the harrowing event, Jack Lowden’s character Collins probably gets the largest spotlight, if only because he’s prominently featured in two parts of the film, “The Air” (alongside Tom Hardy) and “The Sea” (with Rylance and Glynn-Carney). He also has one of the most heart-pumping, intense scenes in the film, as Collins struggles to evacuate his fighter plane as it fills with water. In Dunkirk, Lowden did the unthinkable: He made forget about Hardy. Crazy, I know. But it’s true. And Lowden’s just getting started. In August, his Morrissey biopic, England Is Mine, opens in the U.K. (He’s a brunette, thank god.) He has a few other projects in the works as well, including a part in next year’s Fighting with My Family as English wrestler Zak “Zodiac” Bevis, and he’ll also be portraying Lord Darnley in Mary Queen of Scots, alongside Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan. Did I mention he has a good sense of humour, too?
2. Harry Styles, 23
Sure, Harry Styles is an internationally famous pop star, but in Dunkirk, he proved he can really act, too. In fact, Styles’s character Alex drops not one but TWO f-bombs during the film—the only two f—ks in the entire movie. When asked if Dunkirk was just the beginning of his acting career, Styles said, “I don’t think so.” But I don’t necessarily believe him. He may be writing off movies for now, but whenever Hollywood decides to finally greenlight that Mick Jagger biopic, Styles isn’t going to turn that down. (He can’t let his Jagger impression go to waste.) Though, even if Dunkirk is his only real acting credit, he’s still got a successful music career—and millions of devoted fans—to fall back on. It’s also hard to not be enamored with someone who says things like, “Teenage-girl fans—they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.” SWOON.
1. Barry Keoghan, 24
#JusticeForGeorgie. You may not know Barry Keoghan’s name now (I’m not even sure how to pronounce it, TBH), but you will by the end of the year. His star is on the rise, thanks to an incredibly unsettling performance as a sinister young man in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, opposite Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to stellar reviews. He’s also starring alongside Evan Peters in Bart Layton’s American Animals. With his acting career heating up, the Irishman is already lobbying for a superhero role with shirtless videos on social media. (His favorite character is Robin, which is convenient because Hollywood is currently looking to cast two Dick Graysons.) He’s also a Dior ambassador, which technically means he’s one separation from Jennifer Lawrence, arguably the biggest actress on the planet. So, yes, Keoghan is #1. But everybody wins!!!
He also has a signature pose, which I happen to find endearing.