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A Review Of Christopher Nolan’s, Dunkirk….
A Review Of Christopher Nolan’s, Dunkirk….
It is a testament to Christopher Nolan’s auteur talents that his latest opus about one of the theatres of World War 2, Dunkirk was chosen to be opened in the usually mega box office month of July. I must confess that I am a Christopher Nolan fan and long before he directed the successful, entertaining Batman movies; however, it was Mr. Nolan, among a few, who have directed comic book movies that made much money… yet with respectable scripts that were worthy of Oscar contention (Heath Ledger). There are no Super-Heroes in this Nolan outing, but come Oscar time next year, his name will be mentioned more than once. Mr. Nolan must have wanted to make sure that nothing cock up his Dunkirk movie because he chose to write the script himself, which, he normally leave to his equally gifted brother, Jonathan.
Normally, when I write a movie review, I do not give away any spoilers, but because Dunkirk is an actual place that is part of our storied history, I need not worry about spoilers and the like. To that enlightening end, Dunkirk is a place and a World War 2 theatre where thousands of British and French soldiers were trapped in the open and died because they were at the mercy of the Nazi war machine, especially the bombers from its Luftwaffe. Their deaths were even more grating because no destroyers came to their rescue because the soldiers stationed at Dunkirk were cannon fodder, notwithstanding the fact that one British general opined in the movie that why use the artillery when the German planes were doing such decimation.
All the horrors of war that affect the human condition are front and center in Nolan’s Dunkirk and he chose to give the audience a panoramic view by focusing on the war on the land, in the skies, and on the seas. In Dunkirk, we see and feel the claustrophobia of being trapped on a beach with a relenting monsoon of the German airplanes’ bullets raining down. We see that literally one moment where soldiers were interacting and literally moments later they were literally blown to bloody bits and pieces. We see soldiers that were so traumatized and desperate that they were committing suicide and other fellow soldiers witnessing the low tide that would later vomit up their bodies on the shores, because the fish, apparently, had their ample share of human flesh.
So traumatic was the Dunkirk theatre that one soldier was warning off civilians who were heading to Dunkirk to help in the war effort. This particular soldier just happened to be a pilot, and the gist is that if he were so petrified, from the vantage point of the skies, one could only surmise what the Infantry soldiers were going through on the ground. Even when some soldiers were in the relative safety of a hospital ship, they were still surveying the ship to see where were the nearest exits, akin to persons who always sit facing the door....
It is also Han Zimmer’s music working in tandem with the graphic scenes of war in Dunkirk that captures the mood more than the dialogue -- music that represents fear, loathing, hatred, despair, all wrapped up in the bedlam that is war. In an era where we are privy to the debilitating attributes of PTSD, it must be noted that it was more difficult for the World War 2 era soldiers because to display signs of psychological trauma was seen then as a sign of utmost weakness, even more so then than now. We also know now that sometimes the psychological traumas, borne of wars, and bereft of physical wounds are more detrimental than actual wounds.
I will always look out for the soldiers, and, again, I may be biased because my father is a Vietnam veteran and I too have served. I cannot stand the politicians who use these soldiers for photo-ops and do not correct the fact that immigrants coming across the border can enjoy more of the American Midas dream than many a soldier who have fought and it is the same for our cousins across the pond too. We have more respect for athletes and the god-awful Kardashians than we have our soldiers - then again, the Kardashians are symptomatic of how far we have fallen, whereby, we do not know our history and are unable to enjoy a movie like Dunkirk. Were I to ask most of the young people about Churchill, FDR, Neville Chamberlain, MacArthur, Montgomery, Tojo, Patton, Rommel, I probably would get that vacuous, blank stare….
Perhaps, Mr. Nolan peeped the fact that most of the younger generation has no interest in our compelling history and brilliantly cast Harry Styles, formerly of the renown pop group, One Direction, so that many in said younger generation, when they go out and see Dunkirk, would get a gander of our history and the import of sacrifices by ordinary men and women. Our heroes in life are not the vainglorious of Holly-weird or the overhyped athletes; those soldiers who have died knew the apt saying that the needs of many -- those of us now enjoying the benisons of Democracy -- outweigh the needs of the few or the one (Spock - The Wrath Of Khan), or moreover, as the Lord Christ Jesus said it: Greater love has no man than this… that he lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13). With that backdrop, If you have a sense of history and empathy for those who sacrificed and 0saved us from the Nazis, go and see Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, Dunkirk.
I normally would use a song that fits the themes of a particular blog, but I will simply use a song from Los Lobos that I have been listening to lately... so drill down and enjoy, Set Me Free, Rosa Lee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84_ebE7Gqf4