Dunkirk – In Cinemas this JulyMonday, March 20th, 2017
They recently confirmed that Dunkirk will be a PG-13, which disappoints some people.
‘Surely only R-rated movies can convey the horror of war!’
While Apocalypse Now (1979) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) are among many great films that might support that notion, there are exceptions to the rule. I’ve reviewed two examples here: Paths of Glory (1957) and The Longest Day (1962). For a longer read on this issue, take a look at the excellent Indiewire article about it. The TLDR is that it can still be a good movie. I would add that a decent war movie that my 12 year old son can see, and which other children who are learning about the Second World War can see, is long overdue.
Victory from Defeat
Dunkirk is inspired by Operation Dynamo, when nearly 340,000 Allied troops trapped by the Germans in northern France were evacuated. Militarily, it was a defeat, so can Dunkirk still be an inspiring film that people will want to watch? After all, even Churchill conceded at the time that “wars are not won by evacuations”. However, now historians generally agree that had it failed, the Germans would have won in Europe and the US would not have entered the war. Furthermore, thanks to Deep Wisdom breaking free from the shackles of Eastern philosophy and making it into motivational posters on Facebook, we now understand that setbacks can be critical steps on the path to success. We are spiritually ready for this movie!
Harry Styles is in It
There is a great deal of comment about Harry Styles (of One Direction fame) having a part in the film. Much of it expounds the assumption that he cannot act, or the assumed ignorance of his fans. Dunkirk will be Styles’ acting debut, so we’ll have to wait to find out whether or not he’s any good. If his fans really ‘don’t know what a Dunkirk is’ then perhaps this is the best way for them to find out. Perhaps this is the only way some would ever find out. Either way, I pour scorn on such scorn.
Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh also star in Dunkirk, ensuring interest from a wide range of movie fans. As well as attracting a large audience, very familiar faces can also help us keep track of multiple characters in multiple story threads, as they did in The Longest Day. I think it’s a good sign.
What will a ‘Christopher Nolan War Movie’ be Like?
Dunkirk will be director Christopher Nolan‘s first war movie. Nolan fans will hope for a film that’s dark and complex like The Dark Knight (2008). Nolan has also talked about interweaving three different points of view (from the air, on land and at sea) that take place in very different timeframes, and we know from Memento (2000) that Nolan is a master of nonlinear storytelling. But he also has his detractors. Fight scenes don’t seem to hurt in his movies. Will his portrayal of the fear and violence do justice to the real people that suffered it? And what about his reliance on dialogue for exposition? In interviews he is clearly aware of his reputation for telling rather than showing. Keen to shake that reputation, he insists that silent movies are a major influence on his approach to Dunkirk.
Here’s the Trailer:
Dunkirk is due to be released on 21st July 2017. I’ll be watching it soon afterwards, probably in an IMAX & definitely with my son.