"Dunkirk"

fountainhall
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#1 "Dunkirk"

Postby fountainhall » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:23 pm

Saw this amazing movie today at the iMax Theatre in the Emquartier shopping mall. Almost everyone will know the story of the Dunkirk evacuation when 400,000 British and allied forces were trapped on the beach at Dunkirk surrounded by the German war machine. The movie captures the event in three separate story lines taking place over different time periods. A week spent by the solders on the beach desperate for destroyers to arrive and take them home; the day spent by one of the small boats crossing the channel, its captain superbly underplayed by Sir Mark Rylance who must surely be in for another Oscar nod; and one hour involving an air fight with three Spitfires.

The intercutting between the story lines can be confusing at first, but you soon catch on. More surprising is the exceedingly sparse dialogue. I can’t recall more than a handful of short lines in the whole of the first ten minutes. But the film concentrates on the men – the very young men – and the depth of their fear and emotions. No-one portrays this better than Fionn Whitehead, an actor of whom I had not heard before and who will surely also be in the running for an Oscar. The vulnerability shown on his face throughout is hard to forget. Some of the film’s images will also remain in the mind, none more so than Whitehead’s arrival on the beach as he cannot quite take in the masses of orderly lines of soldiers stretching as far as the eye can see.

Hans Zimmer’s score has just one haunting theme of just a few bars heard from the middle of the movie on. At the climax, this theme crashes though the action and it becomes obvious that it is the start of the famous Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Perhaps the use of just its start is to signify that this wartime evacuation marked a successful but also disastrous start to Britain’s war.

Dunkirk is less a conventional war movie and more of a suspense thriller. It’s gritty, realistic and with just a brief moment of sentimentality involving Sir Kenneth Brannagh near the end. On the big iMax format it hits you right between the eyes. I’m sure a lot of impact is lost in the narrower wide-screen format. There were probably no more than 30 in the audience for this afternoon’s showing. I hope that is not an indication it will be taken off quite soon.


firecat69
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#2 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby firecat69 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:00 pm

I did not see it in IMAX but rather 70MM which is still much better then normal screens. I gave it a B and only that high because of the riveting dogfight scenes and the acting of Sir Mark Rylance.

Maybe because the story is so well known , i found very little to illuminate what I already knew many went through during first the horror of death and then the uplifting story of small boats from everywhere to rescue the survivors.

FH is in good company of the most famous reviewers falling over themselves in their praise for this movie. For me I was disappointed !

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#3 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby fountainhall » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:43 pm

I totally agree there is little in the movie that expands on what we do not already know. What I found fascinating were the characters themselves and their reactions to what was happening to them. I was glad there was no moralising and speechifying by higher-ups like Churchill. It was all about the men. Christopher Nolan's direction pulled me right into the action rather than being a mere spectator and I sometimes found I was emotionally involved.

I do accept, though, that the background to those 400,000 finding themselves on the beach was glossed over and could have done with a little more explanation. It was far from Britain's finest hour!

Perhaps, too, I feel a more personal involvement. My recently married father enlisted at the outset of war and was sent to France. In June 1940 his division found themselves at St. Valery, on the Channel coast but about 200 kms west of Dunkirk. Despite consideration being made in London to rescuing his group, the distance across the Channel at that point was too great and the weather too bad. Six days after the end of the Dunkirk evacuation, his commanding officer surrendered. He went on to spend 5 years in a prisoner of war camp before being repatriated by the Russians.

firecat69
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#4 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby firecat69 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:38 pm

Just for context. Would be interested in hearing what you thought about my favorite movies of the last year.

Hidden Figures
Lion
Hacksaw Ridge

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Undaunted
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#5 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby Undaunted » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:12 pm

I thought Lion was spectacular...loved the lead actor who was also in Slumdog Millionaire. I enjoyed Hidden Figures as I knew nothing of those black women who contributed so much to the U.S.space program.



"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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Captain Kirk
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#6 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby Captain Kirk » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:28 am

firecat69 wrote:Just for context. Would be interested in hearing what you thought about my favorite movies of the last year.

Hidden Figures
Lion
Hacksaw Ridge

Of these I've only seen Hacksaw Ridge which I thought was top notch. Dunkirk for me was an 8/10. Pretty good but not spectacular.

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Gaybutton
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#7 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:40 am

firecat69 wrote:Would be interested in hearing what you thought about my favorite movies of the last year.

I saw all three. I thought all of them were exceptional.

If I had to select just one as my favorite from among them, it would be 'Lion.

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#8 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby PeterUK » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:06 am

I was disappointed with Dunkirk. It seemed disjointed, unimpassioned, and lacking any sense of historical scale. The decision not to give any context was obviously deliberate but it was carried to absurd lengths. For the first half of the movie we hear references merely to 'the enemy'; after that the occasional mention of Germans is made. Needless to say, no German soldier is ever sighted. A few hundred British soldiers form orderly lines and speechify on the beach, as if in some kind of theatrical performance divorced from real events. Mark Rylance's small-boat skipper is clearly meant to personify understated British courage, but he merely comes over as sleepwalking through the part. The movie has its moments of exciting action but also indulges in sloppy sentimental gestures of national pride. It's not a patch on, say, Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan which integrates gripping individual dramas with a real sense of chaotic, sweeping events.

I can still recall the first Dunkirk movie which came out in 1958 (am I that old? surely not?) and starred John Mills in familiar stiff-upper-lip mode. I went to see it with my older brother at the local Gaumont (long since gone). All I clearly remember, apart from the fearful whine of dive-bombing Stukas (strangely absent from the latest movie), is an exchange on the beach. A terrified soldier shouts 'I don't want to die, I don't want to die', to which comes the reply from a soldier made of sterner stuff 'Well you've bloody well got to!'

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#9 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby thewayhelooks » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:58 am

Plenty of Stukas dive bombing soldiers on the beach, including a row of blasts drawing ever closer to our hero, half burying him in the sand.Very noisy they were too. You don't need to see the Germans when they are firing at you as you run for your life through the town. More terrifying that way.

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#10 Re: "Dunkirk"

Postby PeterUK » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:03 am

I thought it was only Heinkel bombers but you could be right.


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