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Dunkirk Movie - Thoughts?

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Having gone back through this thread after posting my thoughts, I find many of us had similar feelings about this film. Rather interesting we came to similar conclusions.

 

Personally, I think the repeating of the scenes from different perspectives was where the film failed

 

. I'm afraid the further WWII recedes into history, the less likely it will be that we ever do see one.

I quite liked the idea of seeing the same action from different perspectives, on reflection though I think it missed the perspective of the German pilots and bomber crew which, looking back seems odd. It didn't need to do anything special, just recognize their pain, fear and suffering in the heat of the moment.

 

I always wonder about the old films, made just after the war ( principally Britsh in my case). Is it because the actors had probably been in the war, or at least because military life was so widely experienced, that they just feel right, or is it simply because they reinforce perceptions of stoic Britishness that I expect and panders to my notions of National pride ? I'm always tickled by the fact that, in "The longest day" Richard Todd (I think) played a role, seizing Pegasis bridge, in which he actually took part, but as his commanding officer instead of the lowly 2lt he had been at the time.

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By tightening the focus on a few characters, it raises the tension, because we don't know what's going to happen to them.

 

 

 

Ultimately, it's the best film I've seen all year.

 

I think that is a good analysis of the film: unfortunately, I found that I did not really care what's going to happen to them.  Perhaps that is just me ;)

 

I agree that it has been a terrible year for films.  Perhaps if "Dunkirk" is a huge commercial hit we will see "Dunkirk 2"? Or perhaps "Danzig"?

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I agree that it has been a terrible year for films.  Perhaps if "Dunkirk" is a huge commercial hit we will see "Dunkirk 2"? Or perhaps "Danzig"?

 

 

Dunkirk 2 - A Very British Queue   :happy:

 

I went in treating it like a flight sim purchase; doing my bit to support the genre etc. etc.

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Most of it's already been said but just to add my tuppence-worth...

Saw it at the IMAX and was well and truly immersed in the film from beginning to end, and would definitely recommend that you see it.

Positives: the use of real locations and lack of CGI; sound, cinematography, non-linear storyline (I actually loved this, for as the film progresses the various bits you hadn't quite noticed make sense when seen from a different perspective). Lack of any kind of distracting extra story line, it just focused on the evacuation.

Negatives: the use of real locations and lack of CGI; unfortunately modern Dunkirk is so greatly different from 1940 and it needed the clock turning back a bit with some clever props and technology. The sense of scale. Again, some CGI would have helped as the beaches looked really, really empty. 400,000 men - where? Sunken ships all over the place - where? The Luftwaffe constantly attacking - where? And the fleet of little ships - where? Half a dozen didn't do it for me at all.

Overall a worthy attempt, but the more you consider it the poorer it becomes. Just go and see it, get immersed in it then forget it. It's not really worth a second look.

Cheers.

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As for the relatively small scale shown in the film, how tense would it have been really? We already know what happens to the BEF, so there's not much tension there. By tightening the focus on a few characters, it raises the tension, because we don't know what's going to happen to them.

 

History buffs, more specifically WWII era history buffs likely do know what happened at Dunkirk. To assume the vast majority of the audience will know or even care is hopeful thinking at best. If showing characters the audience could connect with and care about was what the director was aiming at, then I think he failed in spades. They were shallow characters at best and we didn't really learn much about them as the movie went on. Beyond that, a movie doesn't have to be a documentary to tell its story in a way the audience (even one that doesn't know the subject beforehand) learns as the movie progresses. As Feathered pointed out, the young woman behind him viewing the movie had not a clue what was going on. And before anyone jumps on the old bandwagon about not knowing history, we here know (or at least the vast majority of us) because this is an era of history we've chosen to study. There are many other eras of history equally important that most of us know little to nothing about. This film was worth seeing. But, as far as its ability to tell me a story and allowing me to walk away feeling some sense of attachment to it, it failed.

 

Storytelling in film today is becoming a lost art. Too much reliance on special effects and fast scene cuts to tell an effective story. If one want to see real character development and interaction in an aviation war film, watch Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Twelve O'clock High or Command Decision. If wanting to watch a docudrama type film, Dambusters, Tora, Tora, Tora or even '69s Battle of Britain (a film I'm not particularly fond of) tell their stories in a way even someone not familiar with the subject could walk away with some insight on the events.

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Finally got to see it, I'll add my two cents.

 

I found pretty much everything great except for the flight scenes.

 

I get it, they used real planes instead of CGI for the most of it, but the cost was immense. The dogfights were boring, there was almost no maneuvering just a line of zig-zagging planes separated by one hundred metres. But it was just too boring. The last air kill was just a gigantic bullshit, as well as the never ending planning of the Spitfire.

 

Other than that, some sounds were a bit off, specially the explosions. The first scene had me scared shitless on how mean gunshots sounded, but then the bombs were just.... meh.

 

Everything else was great. The suspense was real, The sinking boats gave me nightmares that same night. Even the Flybys and the aircraft fight scenes, seen from the ground were great.

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I actually thought some of the flight time was rather good. I particularly liked the non combat flight scenes, showing the, other, boring stuff, like checking gauges, looking at the map, calculating fuel and time etc. I thought that was really cool, it gives you a far better understanding of why pilots aren't always looking in the right direction at the right time as they grapple with all the other stuff, like not getting lost etc. It gave me a far better sense of being there, in the cockpit, looking over the pilots shoulder.

 

I wasn't really bothered by the shooting bits, most combat footage I've seen doesn't have the target junking around like the funky chicken. Most pilots being pounced on are probably in shock, unaware or don't know where the attacker is and thus which direction to go, indecision resulting in inaction.

Edited by HagarTheHorrible

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Im going to cinema this evening. Is it better to have few beers before or after the movie?

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I wasn't really bothered by the shooting bits, most combat footage I've seen doesn't have the target junking around like the funky chicken. Most pilots being pounced on are probably in shock, unaware or don't know where the attacker is and thus which direction to go, indecision resulting in inaction.

 

This, what is see in the movie aerial combat sequences is not far from WWII gun can - that is not planes twisting around in bat turn's like we are used in videogames.  :)

 

I like how the movie show the difficult in effective shot another plane, even a "slow" bomber, only Spit gunsight sequences worth more for me than entire Fly Boys shit.

Edited by Sokol1

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History buffs, more specifically WWII era history buffs likely do know what happened at Dunkirk. To assume the vast majority of the audience will know or even care is hopeful thinking at best.

But most people are aware that Britain did win the war, so it should be easy for them to figure out wether or not the British Army was destroyed.

 

If showing characters the audience could connect with and care about was what the director was aiming at, then I think he failed in spades. They were shallow characters at best and we didn't really learn much about them as the movie went on.

 

Actually, I thought we learned quite a bit about them through their actions. For example, Tommy going out of his way to help "Gibson" bury a dead Soldier, Farrier's decision not to RTB, and Peter lying about George's condition to the shell-shocked Soldier.

 

Beyond that, a movie doesn't have to be a documentary to tell its story in a way the audience (even one that doesn't know the subject beforehand) learns as the movie progresses. As Feathered pointed out, the young woman behind him viewing the movie had not a clue what was going on.

But the movie isn't trying to do anything other than put you on the beach. What happened before doesn't matter, what happens next doesn't matter, all that matters is getting off the beach. By showing us nothing but the beach, the film is doing it's best to make us feel trapped there as well.

 

Storytelling in film today is becoming a lost art.

Shin Godzilla came out last year, and it's story was amazing. It's writer/director, Hideaki Anno, has also crafted some of the best stories ever in his Evangelion franchise. Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima had a tragic, emotional story. Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy had characters that were far more memorable than the action scenes, I found.

 

There's a lot of crap these days, but there's also a lot of good.

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Im going to cinema this evening. Is it better to have few beers before or after the movie?

 

Before, I should think.  I would have, but I went to the 10am session.  :happy:

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I had 3 beers + 1 shot before and 2+2 after. I enjoyed that. Not so much the movie. But it was good excuse to get a bit drunk on Monday evening with my friends :D

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The dogfight in the movie were very nice. Now I'm in for a new WW2 dogfight only movie!

I heard that they will make a Battle of Britain movie reboot, but I'm not sure if it's true or not. They should make movie movies about aviation ACES.

Edited by Nic727

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Dont like the Film switch ing from one scene to the other weird.and the 109s again Bouchons i hate it

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Just saw it in IMAX. While I wasn't expecting a definitive historical docu-drama, I was still a bit disappointed at the lack of historical development/perspective. As a gritty war movie though, it works good enough I suppose. As to the disjointed jumping about of scenes, I understand it's somewhat of a hallmark of the director, though it was mildly irritating as I tried to follow an scene the crescendo of action.

 

The air sequences were pretty decent IMO and the tight editing/angles made the best of the small number of real A/C available. One of the things that stood out to me ( and as others have noted ) was the unrealistically long firing time of the Spitfire's .303s. I kept saying to myself that I can't believe he hasn't run out of ammo yet and kept waiting for him to line up on a target, open up and find his ammo expended.

 

I thought that last downing of the Stuka by a deadstick Spitfire was corny to the point it made me squirm. I also wondered that since he was going to destroy his plane anyway, why he didn't just try a belly landing on the soft beach rather than risking nosing over and getting mangled if the L/G caught a rough surface?

 

I've never been to an IMAX movie before and though I liked the image quality, the sound was excruciatingly loud and the musical score louder yet, and very disruptive. The low rumbling in most scenes really rattled my head. My girlfriend saw it with me and she said that if she weren't with me she would have walked out on the show, so loud was the sonic assault.

Edited by TRRA15

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I liked it, not his best movie though and I agree with most of the criticisms of it esp the lack of "scale" to the aerial stuff.

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I liked it, not his best movie though and I agree with most of the criticisms of it esp the lack of "scale" to the aerial stuff.

After i realized it was the same scene over and over i was a bit disappointed. I know they wanted to use the real planes but it would have been ok to complement with cgi planes in the background.

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Finally got to see it yesterday and I was thoroughly unimpressed. No interesting characters to care for, very tame action sequences and no sense of intensity and scope.

 

The narrative structure was interesting and mostly worked and some of the scenes were beautifully shot, but that by itself was not enough.

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Tough crowd. I'm glad we don't criticize flight sim developers as harshly as we critique war movies. Oh, wait.....

 

A war movie without likable/interesting characters is like a flight sim where stalls and spins aren't modeled. Even if everything else is great (which it wasn't in this case) why even bother?

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A war movie without likable/interesting characters is like a flight sim where stalls and spins aren't modeled. Even if everything else is great (which it wasn't in this case) why even bother?

I found the characters to be likable and interesting. I actually found myself relating to George (the dark-haired civilian boy on the boat).

 

We aren't told much about them, no, but we do see enough of their actions to gain an understanding of them.

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I found the characters to be likable and interesting. I actually found myself relating to George (the dark-haired civilian boy on the boat).

 

We aren't told much about them, no, but we do see enough of their actions to gain an understanding of them.

 

What I saw was a lot of nondescript characters making hard choices, but since I knew absolutely nothing about said characters, I had no sense of their internal conflict (which is what makes hard choices interesting to watch on film) and I honestly couldn't care less whether they lived or died.

 

By the end of the movie I was pretty much none the wiser about nearly all characters, so we didn't even really get to know them and those we got to know were quite unappealing: The poor bastard who accidentally killed George, the weirdly gong-ho overly patriotic boat captain, Kenneth Branagh's overly emotional commander who appeared totally inconsequential, despite probably doing the most to making the evacuation a success. 

I guess what they tried to achieve was a sense of "being there". By having a lot of blank slate characters, you're probably supposed to put yourself in their shoes. This can work occasionally ( I kinda think it worked in the Danish movie "April 9th") but combined with a very complex narrative structure which moves at 3 different pacings and a lot of shifting back-and-forth between settings and characters, it just doesn't work.

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@Finkeren - While my overall reaction to the film was very much the same as you outline above - ie that the film does not work - I was amused by a couple of your comments.  

 

Why was the boat captain (I assume you mean the old man in the civilian boat) weird, gung-ho or overly patriotic?  He was almost certainly a veteran of WW1, knew that British soldiers were in mortal peril and that he could do something about it, so he did it. Hundreds of others did exactly the same. I am sure you would have done in the same position. 

 

"Kenneth Branagh's overly emotional commander"  My dear chap, he is Irish and a Luvvie. He can make Reinhard Heydrich seem affable (See "Conspiracy" about the Wannsee Conference).   But anyway, if you were being stuka-ed you might get a bit emotional too.  

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I find Brat Pitt's lieutenant Aldo Raine in Inglorious Bastards as an example of likable character. Like a hillariously likeable :D

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@Finkeren - While my overall reaction to the film was very much the same as you outline above - ie that the film does not work - I was amused by a couple of your comments.  

 

Why was the boat captain (I assume you mean the old man in the civilian boat) weird, gung-ho or overly patriotic?  He was almost certainly a veteran of WW1, knew that British soldiers were in mortal peril and that he could do something about it, so he did it. Hundreds of others did exactly the same. I am sure you would have done in the same position. 

 

"Kenneth Branagh's overly emotional commander"  My dear chap, he is Irish and a Luvvie. He can make Reinhard Heydrich seem affable (See "Conspiracy" about the Wannsee Conference).   But anyway, if you were being stuka-ed you might get a bit emotional too.  

 

For being arguably the character with the most speaking lines, I found the old guy extremely one-note and unappealing. Didn't at all get his motivation, I guess we're just gonna have to assume that.

 

I love Kenneth Branagh. He's awesome. But the character itself was weird, he appeared to be more or less just a side-show, a bystander looking at his own operation. Never do we really see him make a decisive choice or really contribute much.

I find Brat Pitt's lieutenant Aldo Raine in Inglorious Bastards as an example of likable character. Like a hillariously likeable :D

 

Yeah, Tarantino might not be the best director ever, but he's an absolute genius when it comes to creating interesting and likable characters - even (or perhaps: especially) when they're psychopathic killers. 

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IMHO,Nolan pushed very hard for psychological war drama style of movie...And he failed miserably. As such kind of movie is all about the characters and not so much about stunts and visual effects. BBC Dunkirk miniseries does better job here.

If Nolan wants to do another such movie,I highly recommend to him Russian movies "Come and see" and "Burnt by the sun" as examples of how-to ;)

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"Come and see" is a legendary masterpiece. Less than that will do, but there has to be characters to care for which can raise the stakes. That is absolutely essential to any war movie. 

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I've never watched more than a bit of Come and See, too much raw violence for me. But Burnt by the Sun is such an incredible film.

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BBC Dunkirk miniseries does better job here.

 

Hook a brother up wit a link fam? 

 

(The story of Dunkirk really deserves a mini series to do it justice imo)

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I've never watched more than a bit of Come and See, too much raw violence for me. 

 

I don't often say this, but you have to see it. It's not pleasant at all to sit through, but it's such an important masterpiece and still today, nothing has come close to capturing the effects of war on the psyche like this film did.

 

It sits in a secluded spot as the number one war film, towering high above all the others, and it is on my shortlist for 10 greatest films ever made.

 

My only regret is, that it took me so long to watch it. Don't make the same mistake I did.

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(((huffpost)))

 

y u do this Brano???

 

I found it thanks to your link so kudos. :)

Edited by Ace_Pilto

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Eh,huh? 

It says you can get it somehow thru some www.britbox.com. No idea what it its. When I put it into google,it says that it is not available in my country (that britbox). Maybe because we are not the part of British empire....  :biggrin:

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Sorry for derailing a bit, but I want to share this video, which I think perfectly captures how "Come And See" lets the audience experience the horrors through the protagonist. There's a real art to this, and Klimov was a master of it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQEv3PzuO2c

 

Better war films like Saving Private Ryan have used some of these techniques to great effect (I personally think, that film would have been impossible without Come And See as an influence), and I think that it's part of why Dunkirk failed for me. As hard as it tries to put us into the the mind of characters, the narrative structure keeps yanking us out of it. Nolan clearly couldn't make the stylistic choices and the structure fit each other and the result was complete evaporation of immersion - at least for me.

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Eh,huh? 

It says you can get it somehow thru some www.britbox.com. No idea what it its. When I put it into google,it says that it is not available in my country (that britbox). Maybe because we are not the part of British empire....  :biggrin:

lol, I just needed the year of release so I could get it elsewhere

 

*yarrrrr*

 

P.S. "Idi i smiotri" is worth a watch, mainly propaganda that totally misinterprets the role of Einsatzgruppen but a good watch nonetheless since the message it conveys is legit even if the historical content is not.

Edited by Ace_Pilto

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P.S. "Idi i smiotri" is worth a watch, mainly propaganda that totally misinterprets the role of Einsatzgruppen but a good watch nonetheless since the message it conveys is legit even if the historical content is not.

Remember that the entire film is told through the eyes and ears of one of the victims. It's his perspective we experience - not a factual recreation of events.

 

As for whether it's propaganda: I really don't think so, otherwise it would have been cleared for production much faster (it took Klimov almost a decade to get permission to make it) It paints an image of victimhood, an utterly depressing tale of mental and physical destruction - there is no uplifting message useful for propaganda here.

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