Thursday, 27 July 2017

At the Movies - Dunkirk

I was apprehensive about going to see the new film called Dunkirk.  A Dutchman coming out at the end of the screening I went to said to one of his companions, "It was a guys' film, it was not a girls' film," and that was exactly what I expected. However, he was wrong.

One of the women the Dutchman was with, replied, "Oh no, I liked it, except that I didn't think it was bloody enough". One of the men in their party said, "I thought there was too much of a happy ending, especially for that pilot." Given that it appeared that "that pilot", (spoiler alert), was being taken away as a prisoner of the Germans, I would say that my view of a happy ending is fairly unlike that gent's.

I've written more about what I thought about the film here. The salient point, I guess, is that, unexpectedly, I enjoyed it quite a lot.


  1. I went the other day and was also impressed, with a few reservations. It was an effective evocation of Dunkirk, according to a veteran who saw it in Canada and I really appreciated the absence of CGI.

    Regarding the potentially contentious point you made in your review, I largely agree, but I also think that today's sneering attitude towards anything that smacks of patriotism would also contribute. But perhaps Britain would rise to the occasion, as we did in 1982.

    It certainly isn't a "guys" film. My wife came with me and enjoyed it, even though she makes Margot Leadbetter look butch.

    The ending was moving rather than happy, wasn't it? I did get a lump in my throat when the little boats arrived to the strains of Elgar's 'Nimrod', but overall it was presented as a deliverance rather than a victory.

    Apparently the Russians are asking why we're celebrating cowardice, as they would have fought to the last man. But I suspect that some of their 'courage' came from having a commissar threatening to shoot them in the back if they didn't advance, regardless of whether they had any ammunition or not.

    1. My husband said the same about CGI. Interesting about the veteran who saw it in Canada. My daughter thinks the teeth might not have been as white as those of most of the troops in the film.
      Sneering and anger seem to infuse so much at the moment.
      Does anyone not get a lump in their throat when Nimrod is played? It is so moving that I forgive Elgar for lots of other rather dull music.
      The Russians are a bunch of thugs and anyone who was in territory occupied by them after the war, especially female anyones, would - with absolute justification - sneer at claims about their courage. They were beasts - usually drunken beasts - from all I have ever been told. The puzzle is how they produced such wonderful literature while also being so frightful

    2. Sorry that was a bit strident.

  2. The beginning of Elgar's 1st Symphony is also gorgeous, lump in the throat stuff.

    As for the Russians, in my opinion their great art was largely produced by a bourgeois minority in what was, fundamentally, a nation of illiterate peasants. The tragedy of Russia is that it industrialised almost overnight, without the growth of an educated, free thinking middle class. After 1989, the Czechs were able to salvage something from their past. The Russians had no democratic, bourgeois culture to resurrect.

    1. Re the Elgar 1st symphony, thanks for the tip.

      Re the Russians, I read the other day that 100,000 serfs died in a couple of decades constructing St Petersburg as a showcase for the Romanovs - which leads me to think that they were brutalised first by the old regime and then by Lenin etc and so never had the chance to experience a civil society at any stage. The Czechs were part of the Austro Hungarian empire, which I am soppy about - and even its critics would have to admit it was never despotic, if that's the right word, in the way the system of serfdom was in Russia. That was slavery really. But actually I can't claim to really know what I'm talking about in any accurate way