Home Forums General Films and TV Dunkirk – what did you think?

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  • #92815
    cmnash
    Participant

    I watched the recent Dunkirk film by Christopher Nolan for the first this week and I feel the need to say that I was decidedly …  underwhelmed by it.

    What is the collective’s opinion?  Am I  unusual in my reaction?

    .

    #92817
    irishserb
    Participant

    I was very let down by it.

    #92819
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    This is how I treat every ‘war’ film: It’s entertainment, not documentary.

    🙂

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #92824
    irishserb
    Participant

    But Not Connard,  did you enjoy it?  I didn’t, was bored, not entertained, similar to when I tried to watch The Patriot, though not as bad.

    #92831
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I just bought the DVD but have not watched it.

    #92835
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Totally underwhelming film, fell asleep twice to it…. finally managed to watch it all on the third attempt. I think it could have been better, but not sure how you they could.

    Tally-Ho!

    #92839
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    Interesting. I loved it, saw it twice in the cinema (which I never do) and once again at home. It is one of the best war films I’ve seen in a long, long while. As to why, I would list four main reasons:

    1.) the acting; it is a superb cast, without a weak link. My favourites were Tom Hardy as the pilot and Mark Rylance as Mr Dawson. (On a related note – it should probably precede the acting, to be honest – the characters were all intriguing. They were an interesting mix.)

    2.) the pacing; funny how we disagree on this. I found what they did with time quite interesting. I don’t know if the above comment about falling asleep carries a touch of hyperbole, but it certainly wasn’t our experience. We were on the edge of our seats the whole time.

    3.) the effects were great in my opinion. The dogfight scenes were especially good.

    4.) the score; Zimmer is almost always strong, but this was a particularly good outing. The electric, pulsing sound of the score contributed a great deal to the tension. Though I know some didn’t care for it, finding it too heavy-handed, I loved the final resolving of the chord into Elgar’s Nimrod.

    So there you are. We’ll just have to disagree!  (And I’ll second NCS above that I never go to a film for a history lesson. It’s for entertainment – and this worked for us. It’s one of the few war films the ladies in my life love. That alone puts it high in my book…)

    #92840
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I’ll go with NCS – it’s entertainment not history – though I think someone should have thought through the whole ‘Propeller on a metal pole sticking out of burning plywood’ shot at the end a little more thoroughly.

    I’ll also go with Gone Fishing. I really enjoyed it. The pace was fantastic. Any fool can do ‘bang! crash! wallop!’ (with or without Tommy Steel- age showing!) and many do with action movies, super hero movies and general ‘let’s make a noise’ movies. This had depth and thought. Yes there were things that probably didn’t endure close inspection – the whole shooting at a beached boat business – although it made for good filmic tension was a bit weird.

    But as an encapsulation of a dramatic pivotal moment in world history – and it was – it was a first rate attempt. Look at the acting and pace of ‘The Longest Day’ – not dissimilar. You can have thoughtful, good, underplayed acting just to the side of camera – Branagh – and still make it tingly. And I’d watch Branagh and Hardy in anything.

     

     

    #92843

    I agree with everything Gone Fishing said. And the women in my life loved it, too.

    I found it very tense and also fairly realistic.

    One of the things I loved about it was how it shows that even in an extreme situation like Dunkirk, there’s more waiting around than actual fighting. The tension is know that, at any moment, death can reach out and touch you.

    I did find the gymnastics they put Tommy through hyperbolic, but understand why they needed to do that in terms of telling the story.

    Also, I found what they did with time to be fantastic, especially as it highlights different people’s experience of war: a week of dodging bombs and bullets for an infantryman; a day of sailing to France and back home again for the boats of the fleet; five minutes for a fighter pilot. Really underscored the different times scales of warfare and did so brilliantly.

    I also disagree with my leftist comrades that it was  British nationalist propaganda. What the Brits did was a miracle and they should be rightly proud of it. I found the nationalism to be tastefully understated and quietly proud, which jibes with what I know about how the Brits were reacting at the time.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #92845

    ’ (with or without Tommy Steel- age showing!)

    Who’s Tommy Steele? I checked the cast list & he’s definitely not in the movie.

     

    donald

    #92846

    I quite liked it not only for the fact that for a movie, it is quite good history.

    In terms of accuracy, it surely rates pretty highly. There are no big, glaring historical whoppers. The characters the director invents  are realistic, and his scenes depict genuine events or fairly close to firsthand accounts. eg the soldier who walks into the water to walk to Britain. The point of the movie was in conveying what it might have felt like to be on that beach. And I think the confusion, panic, fear of uncontested air attack etc are all well realised.

    But it is a movie. Did any gliding, damaged Spitfire  shoot down a Nazi dive bomber ? Not that I’ve ever read.

    Where it “falls down” is in scope. It doesn’t begin to tell the whole story and indeed, the evacuation looks far smaller than the reality. It leaves out the political machinations behind the story from both sides. And historical characters such as Branagh’s Tennant (I assume) are either missing or attenuated.

    I don’t think it is another “Longest Day” which does recount the Normandy invasion pretty well. But nor does it intend to, concentrating on its 3 story lines to show some of the human experiences in the evacuation. It does this very well.

     

    donald

    #92883
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    I’m with the “it’s a movie not a history lesson” group.

    As a movie it was pretty well done, I think.

    Well acted, well paced and beautifully scored and shot.

    Loved the different time frames.

    As to historical accuracy, I thought it captured the essentials well and, in this day and age, was pleasantly surprised to find that the British Army wasn’t rescued from the Dunkirk beaches by the US Navy 🙂

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #92887
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    But Not Connard, did you enjoy it? I didn’t, was bored, not entertained, similar to when I tried to watch The Patriot, though not as bad.

    It was OK. I wouldn’t put it on my ‘watch it again’ list.

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #92889
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    ’ (with or without Tommy Steel- age showing!)

    Who’s Tommy Steele? I checked the cast list & he’s definitely not in the movie. donald

    He was in a different film. 😉

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #92913

    ’ (with or without Tommy Steel- age showing!)

    Who’s Tommy Steele? I checked the cast list & he’s definitely not in the movie. donald

    He was in a different film. 😉

     

    Before my time. Apologies.

    donald

     

     

    #92922
    MartinR
    Participant

    I thought it was great, WW2 interpreted through medium of photography and sound. I was amazed that what is essentially an art house film was put out as some sort of Hollywood historical blockbuster and it was the kind of thing I would have expected to be directed by Ben Wheatley.

    Great stuff, but John Mills and Richard Attenborough it isn’t.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #92950

    I quite enjoyed it.

    "Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?"

    Axel Oxenstierna

    #92977
    cmnash
    Participant

    Well that is interesting …   having just gone through the thread, my impression is that there is an even split between like & dislike.

    I was surprised to read that some liked the film’s music – for me that was the part I disliked the most, finding it heavy-handed and too much in some parts.

    That said, although I did not like the film as a whole, the acting was first rate, with – for me – the entire cast doing a first rate job.

    Thank you to all who posted!

    .

    #93083
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I got to watch it tonight, it was wonderfully understated as only the British can do. My Lady Joyce and I both teared up in places. More importantly, my 11-year-old Grand Daughter googled Dunkirk to read more about it. So for me, it was a win.

    #93108

    I agree, KB: very British. The whole thing about Mr. Dawson’s relationships with the young men in his life was particularly so, in my opinion. Here’s a guy who is obviously very respected by his sons and the other young men on the warf front, but he’s just a simple middle class summer sailor, not heroic, not an action hero.

    Dawson saves the lives of everyone on his boat because he listened with attention to a bit of trivia his dead son told him about flying. That one little thing spoke volumes about his relationship with his son, how much he loved him, how proud he was of him…

    And then they don’t tell the traumatized soldier that he killed George by accident. I mean, why tell him? He has gone through enough. Not a tear shed. Just lips thinned and you could tell how angry they were. Then making sure George was remembered as a war hero, because, after all, he was, even though he never fired a gun.

    Very British. Incredibly sad and yes, a tear jerker. And not a histrionic performance in sight.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #93395
    deephorse
    Participant

    I looked forward to watching this film and came away feeling disappointed.  I’m not talking about historical accuracy or the acting, it just didn’t engage me.  I found myself not caring whether anyone lived or died, couldn’t grasp what was going on in the aerial sequences, and kept wondering why the Germans were shooting at a beached hulk?  Maybe I need to watch it again.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #94547
    Noel
    Participant

    I enjoyed it for what it was.  It followed tradition with all of these big-battle WWII films made since the sixties (stuff like The Longest Day, Is Paris Burning, A Bridge Too Far).  The scope is so large, the film can’t focus on any one person’s experience for too long.

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