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Dunkirk film (2017)

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Nolan fails to plug holes - Harry has little Style in his first major film role

As most of you know I'm a WWII researcher, so yesterday I streamed the film, as the reviews were mostly positive following its release at UK cinemas back in the summer.

Some of my family had involvement in the evacuation... it's the first time to give this flick a shufti.

Think it's fair to say that expectations can bite you hard on the archipelago, and this film was no exception. To say I was underwhelmed by the context of the film is a huge understatement: For the first half a dozen scenes there was poke-in-the-eye drab, littered with glaring omissions/visual errors: Fionn Whitehead, who was pretty good, as he was coming down a street in Dunkirk, all the buildings are in pristine condition. I know that Dunkirk was bombed by the Luftwaffe. So badly, in fact, that red cross vehicles had real problems ferrying the wounded back to 'Casualty Clearance stations' outside the main town.

The other issue I had was the scale... or lack of it: The beach scenes were quiet, almost trying not to wake the baby... and their was a distinct lack of soldiers trying to jump on one of the small boats. Only on the rare occasion when the bombs were dropped did the film start to resemble a war film.

The RAF fighters only totalled 3. I know that two Squadrons were allocated for the beaches, and that's 24 aircraft. It's fair to say that not a full complement would have been sent, but there would have been far more than three. Christopher Nolan did confirm his reluctance to use CGI. That's to the detriment of the film IMHO.

Another strange thing: Michael Caine had a voice-over part. According to Nolan he was used as a 'nod to his part in the Battle of Britain film'. Oooookay. Unless I've gone ga-ga the evacuation of Dunkirk ended beginning of June and the BoB started on the 10th July. So, please forgive me, I don't get the connection.

Perhaps I don't like or 'get' a film producer/director of fantasy films going into hard hitting WWII stuff. Same thing is happening with Peter 'The Hobbiteer' Jackson:

Back in 2006 Jackson announced he was to remake The Dam Busters. After the initial announcement nothing was mentioned for about 2 years. Then, out of the blue, news leaked out that Stephen Fry had written the script for The Dam Busters. Since then only tiny snippets has come out, including a few static models of Lancaster bombers had been commissioned in New Zealand. Yet again, all gone quiet, and now the Dam Busters has been erased from Jackson's filmography listings.[/i]

I would love to see a good British Director taking on both films: I know technically Nolan was born in the UK but lives in California...Dunkirk, no doubt, had a lot of Hollywood money invested.

The best dramatised interpretation of Dunkirk by a country mile was a 3 parter made by Alex Holmes in 2004. Fraction of the budget, it was based on real people, and character development is head and shoulders above Nolan's effort.

Another observation: Why did the captain of a small boat in KENT have a west country accent?

BBC film critic Mark Kermode, who I think comes across with the charisma of a dry J-Cloth, reckoned Dunkirk could be the greatest war film ever made. Really? No idea what film he was watching.

Good things: Cinematography is good and... erm... err....

To sum up: It was cold, sterile effort with a poor script, no CGI, historical accuracy lobbed out of the window. The story is disjointed. No atmosphere, no emotion.... no point IMHO.

Anyway, I was so bored with the film I only watched about 60 minutes. That was an hour of my life wasted. Yet, oddly, a lot of the critics loved it and Nolan has made squillions from the film. Crack on...

0/10
 

plastic penguin

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Just think that non-Brits making a British/European war film doesn't work.

I was told about Fiske in 2004 when I visited 11 Group sector control at RAF Uxbridge. The curator, Chris Wren, went into detail about the garden gnome playing this superhero in the BoB remake.
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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I watched on the plane back from South Africa. Why were the boats in daylight and the beach in the dark? Trying to make an anti-British film about Dunkirk was always a stupid idea anyway, but that’s Hollywood these days. Tom Hardy flying around on a pleasure flight totally confused me. Didn’t he know there was a war on? No urgency in his actions, nothing.

I think 2/10 is far too generous. It really was pathetic. It reminded me of Zulu Dawn in parts.
 

Diamond Joe

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Mar 1, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
Just think that non-Brits making a British/European war film doesn't work.

I was told about Fiske in 2004 when I visited 11 Group sector control at RAF Uxbridge. The curator, Chris Wren, went into detail about the garden gnome playing this superhero in the BoB remake.
Crikey, I was part of 11 Group for several years, that's the first time I've seen it mentioned for donkey's years.

I haven't seen Nolan's Dunkirk and after what you've said I think I'll wait until it appears on TV, and even then I might not watch it. I did see the 1958 film with John Mills, Richard Attenborough and Bernard Lee recently, I imagine that was a much better film.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Diamond Joe said:
plastic penguin said:
Just think that non-Brits making a British/European war film doesn't work.

I was told about Fiske in 2004 when I visited 11 Group sector control at RAF Uxbridge. The curator, Chris Wren, went into detail about the garden gnome playing this superhero in the BoB remake.
Crikey, I was part of 11 Group for several years, that's the first time I've seen it mentioned for donkey's years.

I haven't seen Nolan's Dunkirk and after what you've said I think I'll wait until it appears on TV, and even then I might not watch it. I did see the 1958 film with John Mills, Richard Attenborough and Bernard Lee recently, I imagine that was a much better film.
Yip - the 1958 Leslie Norman film is better in terms of character development and telling the whole story.

The Nolan film: Hollow.

Kenneth Branagh who played Commander Bolton is well enough acted. But Commander Bolton never existed at Dunkirk. He was a composite character, based around Capt Bill Tennant and Commander Clouston, who were depicted in the 2004 docudrama.

Nolan stated back in the summer that the film wasn't a war film, but a film of survival. That's all well and good but please tell it with a smidgen emotion, the hopeless situation of being cornered by a superior army and airforce.

Not once do they refer to the German side.... very unconvincing.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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jjbomber said:
I watched on the plane back from South Africa. Why were the boats in daylight and the beach in the dark? Trying to make an anti-British film about Dunkirk was always a stupid idea anyway, but that’s Hollywood these days. Tom Hardy flying around on a pleasure flight totally confused me. Didn’t he know there was a war on? No urgency in his actions, nothing.

I think 2/10 is far too generous. It really was pathetic. It reminded me of Zulu Dawn in parts.
Don't have the heart to give it a 0/10. Oh, hang it all! Amendment made.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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I know I've banged on about this version, but it's well worth buying.

In the first episode they concentrate a bit on the Wormhoudt massacre, west of Dunkirk. The character playing Private Alf Tombs is very believable and convincing.

I've read quite a bit about this episode of the Dunkirk evacuation and what happened to the Warwickshires, and it is evil personified. Credit to Alex Holmes for including it in his three parter.

Alf Tombs died in 2003, aged 91. Here's his recollection printed in 1993.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/massacre-survivors-hope-for-justice-an-ss-officer-is-blamed-for-the-deaths-of-80-soldiers-near-1466246.html
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,635
83
19,770
plastic penguin said:
I know I've banged on about this version, but it's well worth buying.

In the first episode they concentrate a bit on the Wormhoudt massacre, west of Dunkirk. The character playing Private Alf Tombs is very believable and convincing.

I've read quite a bit about this episode of the Dunkirk evacuation and what happened to the Warwickshires, and it is evil personified. Credit to Alex Holmes for including it in his three parter.

Alf Tombs died in 2003, aged 91. Here's his recollection printed in 1993.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/massacre-survivors-hope-for-justice...
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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plastic penguin said:
...I would love to see a good British Director taking on both films: I know technically Nolan was born in the UK but lives in California...Dunkirk, no doubt, had a lot of Hollywood money invested.
I would like to see a film made about Blair 'Paddy' Maine. The problem seems to be the question of who would invest in it. Hollywood won't touch a British war hero and Ireland won't touch it for political reasons. Maybe Britain needs to fund a film industry to match the propaganda from Hollywood. Certainly history is being re-written at an alarming pace. We can but dream.

And can we finally give him his VC that King George recommended!
 

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