This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Broadsword » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:05 pm

Hahaha :D Don't worry Thaine, you're not missing much, just my lone mad voice howling in the wilderness :lol:

To clarify (since I'm here, and since I genuinely don't intend to insult our colonial brethren), my objection to the inclusion of the line about 'the New World riding to the rescue of the old' is not a general one. I'm not suggesting that movies should cover up the contribution of the USA any more than they should embellish it. But this film is so focused, so definitely and positively centred on what happened on that beach and how crucial that was to Britain being able to continue her fight, that in this case that line is in effect a change of subject.

And even that would have been fine if it wasn't the very last line of the film. If that scene had been followed by a couple of others (and I'm not advising that - finishing with Churchill's speech as read by Tommy was definitely the right way to end the film, but if there had then been another scene...) then the line would have been just an interesting side-note and wouldn't have mattered at all. But the last line of a film carries a weight as important as the first in terms of the impression we walk away with, and giving such a prominent position, such a bright spotlight, to a line which suddenly yanks the viewpoint away from Britain's quiet 'victory within a defeat' and points it squarely at the Americans is wrong, wrong, wrong from a narrative perspective. It's like having Neil Armstrong land on the Moon, say, "that's one small step...", plant the Stars and Stripes in the dry, grey dust as a huuuge orchestra breaks out into the Star-Spangled Banner but then immediately adding, "of course all the engineering was German you know, we were just along for the ride." It might be true, but it's not right.

And you can't really argue that in Dunkirk's case using the line was unavoidable, given that A) there was a far stronger stopping point just before with 'we will never surrender', and B) the vast majority of the audience have probably never heard the last line anyway (since most popular quotes of the speech do seem to stop at 'never surrender') so it wouldn't have sounded weird or truncated. This was definitely a conscious choice, and one that to my mind harmed the film.
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Biggs » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:05 pm

To be fair Churchill spent a great deal of his time in the early stages of ww2 trying to appeal to FDR and more importantly the American public for assistance he knew he would need. Conscience decision or not, don't think that line takes the audience's focus away from the accomplishments of the British in this movie.
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Onebad » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:04 pm

I'm with Biggs on this one. To me it didn't feel like you walk away from the film thinking about America having to help out the Brits, it's more like "well the line was in the speech so it would be bloody awkward if they cut it out for the sake of god knows what".
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Matt » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:51 pm

I watched the film in New York ... i did hear one American say "wow the British was up against it until we got involved" I did laugh to myself

I think most people come out with a view of how Britain was facing being overrun by the Germans however I think the filmcould of show the fight beyond the beaches in the first 10 minutes just to give the viewers a better understanding of how close we came
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Thaine » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:20 am

This reply is made possible my Mrs. Thaine, who was so kind to push the kids (already in pyjamas, the kids, not Mrs. Thaine) into the car to drive me my keys to the cinema, so I could lock down my bike.

I agree with all the positive things, and some of the negative aspects of Broadsword. I am not blown away by that movie. I think it is good, one of the better war movies. But not brilliant. I was captured by the atmosphere and that's were I think the movie succeeds most; helped by the complicated timelines and the score. They filled me with a sense of suspense and confusion. I agree with what Broadsword, in his usual fashion, put so fitting in words. The beaches, the wind, the water, it felt uncomfortable and cold. Being in the inner of the ships felt claustrophobic and unpleasant. The characters felt real to me, not like Red-Tails stereotypes, but like authentic persons with fear and hope.

As to Broadswords US and to few men complaints. I see his points. But they first really appeared to me after I read his critic. That is to say it did not catch my attention during the movie. And as such I have no problem with it.

The decision no to show the Germans was ok. I think it works for this particular movie given the situation. The Germans were mostly the anonymous enemy dropping bombs. They weren't demonised, but played their historical role and that's a big deal to me. As most of you know I'm German and therefore I'm allergic to the usual stereotypes. Red tails, forgive me mentioning this abomination, for example does a horrible job in showing the Germans as scared zombies that can't even speak proper German. I wasn't very impressed with Saving Private Ryan for a similar reason. That was already discussed in another thread. It's not as striking there, but left me personal with a sour feeling. Maybe I'm a sensitive bitch. What I always hope for is that the Germans, should they appear, are given some depth. Does not has to be as deep as the main characters, obviously, but at least that one can acknowledge that they were humans with feelings as well. Since the movie is about Dunkirk, I think it is okay as it is. Would it have been a Battle of Britain movie, I would have hoped to see some German aircrews as well. There's good old movies that brilliantly managed to show both sides of the war without falling into stereotypes.

Another point that is as well related to my upbringing in post-war Germany: I grew up in a society that reacts suspicious and almost loathing to any kind of military heroism or patriotism, as a result of the Germans guilt and the "never-again" attitude after the war. I assume this is in strong contrast to what is normal in your land my friends from the UK, US, Poland or wherever you might come from. This resulted also in a very different type of war movie in Germany. If you look at the big German productions: Die Brücke, Das Boot, Stalingrad,... There's no heroism, everybody looses, in war there's no winners. The best you can hope for is to endure it or die without corrupted morality. I liked Dunkirk with that aspect as well. There's no real heroes in the Hollywood sense, and you get a feel for the loss. How often are the tommys so close to safety only to be put back on square one with the next attack. The only moment that gave a slight downside to this was when the civilian boats arrived and the music swell. It's not a too big deal. But for a second I feared that movie will drift down into a cheesy and less authentic direction.

So let's talk about the flying. The lead, yeas I feel your pain. I was as well thinking, shoot, shoot, ... Or for Christ sake, too late. But I feared that already from watching the trailer. I think the Buchons looked okay, the yellow noses, well I can accept that. Some aspects I liked, the damage felt authentic, not overdone with big explosions. Only the crashing Heinkel was a bit suspicious imho, I wouldn't have expected that a streaming, ditching Heinkel would explode. But it was obvious it had to given all the oil and soldiers in the water. Apart from that I liked how they showed the damage with streaming radiators and engines and enemies fleeing the scene.

What really disappointed me though was the numbers. Three Spits, Three Stukes, One Heinkel with two escorts, and not a single Hurricane? I would have hoped for more, at least from the Luftwaffe side. I'm not to firm on the history side, but from my biased ACG view I remember that I was up against up flights of dozens of bombers, stukas plus escorts. And from what I remember from books, the RAF was highly outnumbered. The dogfighting seemed to include to little planes. They went through the trouble to show some of the RAF's struggle, so why not get the dimensions somehow right. Leaving the cinema, one could have thought that the LW sent out a handfull of Stukas and a spare Heinkel with two to three 109's that were in the area by accident. And the RAF had only one patrol of three planes during the whole operation.

The canopy closed when ditching is so obvious a trick to increase suspense that it hurts. Every manual tells you to open or jettison the canopy in case of an emergency landing. Heck the slide canopies of the RAF are even opened for every regular landing. I can't imagine a pilot opening the canopy to look at the sea-state, making the decision to ditch and than closing it again. I don't think a lot of people will notice. But to us flight geeks it's just silly. Rather have him smash his head into the gunsight, loose consciousness like that and tada, you have the need for a rescue boat scene. Well, maybe in future times.

So, that's it. Did I regret to see it? Obviously not. Would I recommend it? Yes, if you're interested in the history. Would I watch it again? Probably not.
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Dickie » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:49 am

Watched it last night, 7/10. Will read this thread now.
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Donkey » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:05 am

Am I the only one who is going to admit to having read Broadsword's critique (on the bog) before watcing the film...?

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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Kildren » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:42 am

Thaine wrote:I am not blown away by that movie. I think it is good, one of the better war movies. But not brilliant. I was captured by the atmosphere and that's were I think the movie succeeds most; helped by the complicated timelines and the score.
Pretty much that its more of an artistic movie then something else use of the Shepard tones was on point for the atmosphere.
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Dickie » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:22 pm

OK so I don't need to write much. Broady really hit the nail on the head for me too, although I felt the music was 'missing' but he put me right on that actually, musical outbursts would've been cheesy. My main point is in agreement with Thaine on numbers too. So, for me, aside obvious things like squadron code "LC" being affiliated to the station flight of RAF Feltwell, a bomber airfield in East Anglia, not even fighters - but I guess that Nolan wanted to avoid tying in his fiction into real events.

In no particular order
1. Hardy can't shoot yet shot down 2 109's, 2 He-111's and astonishingly a Stuka which was mid dive, whilst he was deadstick with his landing flaps down.
2. The sparseness of it all, right from the opening where Styles walks through the very clean and empty streets of Dunkirk before taking fire from Jerry and losing his mates. Then he stumbles on the last line of French defense, a fucking sandbag wall across a street with a couple of MG's in it - and they are taking fire. 50 yards on from that he LITERALLY WALKS ONTO THE BEACH. So where are the French? There were 50,000 of them in the enclave holding out. Sorry but Dunkirk was a bombed out fucked up mess with burned out vehicles lying all over the place and bodies in the streets. The French also held out much further out than "Rue De La Plage".
3. The beach was under shell fire constantly
4. Stuka's don't drop bombs in sticks and they carried underwing stores
5. Nobody had dug in. There were no HQ's or sandbagged posts or AA units set up anywhere
6. The Mole was way way busier than that. There was several ships sunk around it and near the beaches. We saw the occasional ship and none got out without being sunk at some point. Then the Mole was empty "Go get the french" Fuck off.
7. Fighter aeroplanes don't surf the waves when they ditch in water.
8. Fuck all aircraft generally. Should've had ACG numbers.

Can't be bothered now, loads of other things, I sat and watched it, it was Oh-Kay, but I suppose we should be grateful of another burst of WW2 movies coming online, and this one is British. Honestly, if you want a decent account of Dunkirk, and the action, then watch the 3 part BBC Docu-drama "Dunkirk" instead because it is pretty damn good, it's better than this honestly.
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Re: This week I have mostly been watching.... Dunkirk!

Post by Redeye » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:18 pm

Dunkirk can't handle ACG numbers.

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