Dunkerque/Dunkirk

Mister T

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A movie about Brexit (this time undesired) by Christopher Nolan

A top-notch director for a mediocre movie

- no historical introduction;
- despite all the buzz, few pieces of hardware on the ground; the beach looks largely empty, where are the 400 000 soldiers??
- action limits itself to guys board a boat->boat gets hit->guys swim to safety->take another boat-> bam!!!! another hit and so on
- dogfight scenes pretty repetitive and featuring only three/four planes max.;
- there's no scenario, at best it's a docudrama composed of micro-events hastily tied together; zero excitement; zero disorganisation; zero ground action; zero mayhem; the Brits are just queueing on the beach as if there were waiting for the bus!

Music is fine, yeah, keeping you on your toes for action scenes... that do not come

A complete waste of time and money, fortunately it lasts only 1h47 :waiting:
 

Michael Dorosh

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Really not a good movie. There were no characters to care about. All the infantry looked identical to each other, all the pilots wore masks. Half the characters had no names that I could tell. No back stories, no identity, no reason to root for them.

And never any real stakes. Great example from the end of the film. The Spitfire coasts in, and the pilot has to do the 'hand crank the landing gear down' thing. They did the same thing in 1990 in Memphis Belle. But at the start of that movie, the audience sees B-17 belly land and then blow up with the crew aboard. So the stakes were extremely high for the Belle when it comes to the end of the film. (Still hokey, but at least it made the audience care.) Not here. Guy hand cranks the wheels and has a smooth landing on the beach sand. Then gets captured.

Only really interesting thing was seeing Michael Caine's name in the credits, and having wondered if that was his voice on the soundtrack.
 
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Nineteen Kilo

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I saw it in IMAX today and thought the flying scenes were fantastic and worth the cost of seeing it IMAX.

I don't know if this is a standard IMAX thing or if it was just my personal theater but the sound was loud, and I mean LOUD. When the first rifle shots went off I literally thought I was at the firing range and wished I had hearing protection. I spent the rest of the move wincing. My ears are ringing right now. You've been warned.

As for the movie if you don't know anything about the Dunkirk action (and I wouldn't think that would apply to the people on this board) Nolan spends no time with exposition, he expects you to know the set up and just takes off with the action. I was ok with it, but found at the post-movie dinner I had to explain quite a few of the events/people in the movie to my friends.

For those who don't know already the Kenneth Branagh naval officer is clearly Captain William Tennant later the Captain of the Repulse and Mulberry Harbors fame. The elderly civilian on the yacht was not named as such but is clearly based on the Charles Lightoller and his exploits on the yacht Sundowner with his son and and a young sea scout (former 2nd officer on the Titanic BTW).

The movie attempts to show you what was going on that week and doesn't follow the traditional narrative of following the exploits of the protagonist, rather it attempts to emerge you in the sights and sounds of Dunkirk in a "you were there" fashion. The result is like watching fish in an aquarium, the sight is interesting and pretty, but there is no emotional connection.

I appreciate what Nolan tried to do but he didn't hit a home run, more like a single stretched to a double due to ambitious running by the hitter.
 

Michael Dorosh

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For those who don't know already the Kenneth Branagh naval officer is clearly Captain William Tennant later the Captain of the Repulse and Mulberry Harbors fame.
A number of people have surmised he was inspired by Commander James Clouston, so it's perhaps not all that clear....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Campbell_Clouston

You make a good point about the sound. It was hard to hear the dialogue (what little there was) and I thought it was just my aging ears until I read similar comments online about the quality of the sound mix.

I saw the film in a D-Box chair, without knowing what that was. When the first machine gun opened up, the mechanism inside the chair started thumping, as if someone was kicking my seat. Just about scared the crap out of me. Then the chair started moving, especially during the sea scenes, so it felt like I was floating on the vessels. Immersive to say the least, but yeah, very loud.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Did not know this. Is it possible Caine was the voice of Tom Hardy's flight leader? In homage to The Battle of Britain?
Correct to the latter, or at least that's the speculation. I don't know if he was the flight leader or control in the UK. I think the latter, but as I heard his voice I was so distracted by "is that Michael Caine" that I didn't really twig to what was actually being said.
 

Nineteen Kilo

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A number of people have surmised he was inspired by Commander James Clouston, so it's perhaps not all that clear....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Campbell_Clouston

I didn't get that vibe at all. Tennant reportedly wore his dress uniform with all of it's gold braid at the Mole and was widely listened to/obeyed by army soldiers because "He looked like someone in command" even though not in the army. That's pretty much the role Branagh plays.

But as with the bulk of the characters (if not all) he could have been an amalgamation of those two officers.
 

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I loved it though I was not expecting an ASL scenario. It is more a disaster movie. It is beautifully filmed and some of the spitfire over the sea shots are stunning plus Nolan is focussing on individual experience which would be probably quite close to what is here. It is a very different type of war film and one that focuses on the emotions and experiences with an ensemble cast. If you were expecting blood and guts and action and 'ooooo look thats the wrong sort of Panzer for this fight' or ' wow famous actor is kicking arse here' then see another film.
 

Michael Dorosh

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I loved it though I was not expecting an ASL scenario. It is more a disaster movie. It is beautifully filmed and some of the spitfire over the sea shots are stunning plus Nolan is focussing on individual experience which would be probably quite close to what is here. It is a very different type of war film and one that focuses on the emotions and experiences with an ensemble cast. If you were expecting blood and guts and action and 'ooooo look thats the wrong sort of Panzer for this fight' or ' wow famous actor is kicking arse here' then see another film.
The main criticism I've seen is that there is no story. No characters = no reason to care what happens on the screen.
 

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Summarize the movie in one word: boring.

Not a bad movie per se, but boring as hell. Same 3 action scenes repeated for 105 minutes. Even the flight scenes were boring after the first one. Same action - bomber heading for a ship and spitfire trying to stop it. Spitfire had unlimited ammo. Must of been the dumbest pilot ever trying to get out of his ditched Spitfire - doesn't he carry a sidearm to blast away the plexiglass? Using the butt of a flare gun to try to break the glass.

Characters misplaced (kid on the civilian boat who died - what the hell was the meaning behind that?); group hiding in the boat; naval officers came out of nowhere with no introduction. What someone mentioned above, the beach scenes were pathetic. More like 400 rather than 400,000.

A child's book likely has more words than the script. When the actors did talk, the acting was mediocre at best.

Kept looking at my watch to see when the misery would end and I could go back to my hotel room to watch a 20 year old re-run of "Everybody Loves Raymond".
 
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Grumblejones

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A movie about Brexit (this time undesired) by Christopher Nolan

A top-notch director for a mediocre movie

- no historical introduction;
- despite all the buzz, few pieces of hardware on the ground; the beach looks largely empty, where are the 400 000 soldiers??
- action limits itself to guys board a boat->boat gets hit->guys swim to safety->take another boat-> bam!!!! another hit and so on
- dogfight scenes pretty repetitive and featuring only three/four planes max.;
- there's no scenario, at best it's a docudrama composed of micro-events hastily tied together; zero excitement; zero disorganisation; zero ground action; zero mayhem; the Brits are just queueing on the beach as if there were waiting for the bus!

Music is fine, yeah, keeping you on your toes for action scenes... that do not come

A complete waste of time and money, fortunately it lasts only 1h47 :waiting:
Could not agree more with your assessment.
 

MatrimSaric

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The main criticism I've seen is that there is no story. No characters = no reason to care what happens on the screen.
Interesting comment for several reasons. The first is that the film has been praised more highly than any film in recent memory - admittedly that is professional reviewers but most films garner around 3-5 star reviews, if lucky, this hit around 40 (though I suspect some of that is nervous US studios worried that American audiences wont go to see a film about non-americans fighting without extra reason (even though these speak a language they can understand) hence a bigger push on reviewers than normal). The second is that there are characters. Spoilers. Tommy is the soldier lead and you follow his repeated attempts to get off the beach (along with eventually two others) you have the small ship sailor his two sons and the rescued officer , the colonel and naval officer on the mole and the two fighter pilots - there is no one else to follow so thats, what, 11 characters and people are finding it hard to follow that? . Each plot strand is very, very recognisable and they all interlink to tell the same story

On the 'there is no story' Tommy starts off in a street gets off the beach several times and ends up saved, he is saved by the small ship sailor and both fighter pilots whose actions in fighting off the bomber and fighters both allow Tommy to get to the ship. The story is actually quite pronounced and utterly non-random. The only (potential) weakness is that Nolan spends the time mixing the stories together so you see the fighters shoot down the bomber and then later in the film you see the small boats reaction to that same event so I can see how people who like a more linear story might get confused.

Having served myself this film was more realistic from a military persepective than any other. The mass of the army are nameless individuals, you spend time waiting, you dont have a clue what is going on or why things are happening, action (when it occurs) is localised to you, your mates and the immediate enemy. I wonder if some of the dislike is caused by people being trained into vast heroic epics. This film is not even intended to be that kind of film but is showing the experience of three very tiny sections of that event as the participents might have regarded it.

I wont change any opinions here admittedly but imho this was far superior to most heroic crap that gets served up as war movies nowadays.
 

bendizoid

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No mention of Germans or Nazis. No explanation of what the f**k they are doing there. So finally we see its thin veiled Brexit propaganda, go figure.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Spoilers. Tommy is the soldier lead and you follow his repeated attempts to get off the beach (along with eventually two others) you have the small ship sailor his two sons and the rescued officer , the colonel and naval officer on the mole and the two fighter pilots - there is no one else to follow so thats, what, 11 characters and people are finding it hard to follow that? . Each plot strand is very, very recognisable and they all interlink to tell the same story
Saying that war is terrible isn't profound. We all know it before we see the movie. There wasn't a plot so much as three vignettes that were drawn out to take up two hours. Following it wasn't my problem. Caring about what happened was.

Having served myself this film was more realistic from a military persepective than any other. The mass of the army are nameless individuals, you spend time waiting, you dont have a clue what is going on or why things are happening, action (when it occurs) is localised to you, your mates and the immediate enemy. I wonder if some of the dislike is caused by people being trained into vast heroic epics. This film is not even intended to be that kind of film but is showing the experience of three very tiny sections of that event as the participents might have regarded it.
I doubt your life experiences are unique among the audience. Plenty of people commenting in this thread have served in the military, studied military history, and studied the art of fiction. There was nothing heroic about Cross of Iron, but it had a story. Pork Chop Hill had a story and characters with names and backgrounds, and no heroics. I react as poorly to made-up heroics as I do to movies with no story.

Incidentally, fiction is *supposed* to be subjective realism. If Band of Brothers had been 10 hours of guys waiting for a truck, no one would be using it as the benchmark today. So it's great that real life soldiers don't know what's going on or spend lots of time waiting. If you want to make a movie about that, you need to have characters you care about. There were plenty of waiting scenes in Band of Brothers, but because the scenes all revealed character, had well-written, believable and entertaining dialogue, they worked.
 

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So you claim. I think you're wrong and fortunately for me the film is on target for 200 million with 60% male to female ratio and 76% 'older' viewers so it has been a commerical success (approx cost 100 million) so more films of this nature may follow. I will no dobut enjoy them while (what appears to be the majority here) scowl and moan.

Your loss....
 

Michael Dorosh

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So you claim. I think you're wrong and fortunately for me the film is on target for 200 million with 60% male to female ratio and 76% 'older' viewers so it has been a commerical success (approx cost 100 million) so more films of this nature may follow. I will no dobut enjoy them while (what appears to be the majority here) scowl and moan.

Your loss....
45 million people watched the premiere of Survivor: The Australian Outback. I was not one of them. But as you say, it takes all kinds. :)
 

Brian W

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I wont change any opinions here admittedly but imho this was far superior to most heroic crap that gets served up as war movies nowadays.
I just got out of it. I thought it was an incredibly well crafted film, but it seemed to lack heart. I still would recommend it to anyone, though. It was one of the best war films I've seen in years. The sound editing was superb, and I thought the interwoven time streams made the movie's non-stop drama watchable--otherwise it turns into a 110 minute chase scene.
 

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Loathsome, inaccurate, sloppy boring drivel. Boring boring boring. Could rant for hours but.....boring best sums up.
 
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