Tag Archives: Dunkirk

Tuesday Cinema Club: Dunkirk

I’m a fan of war movies, I watch quite a lot about all sorts of battles and one thing I love about them is that they teach you things and give you a better understanding of how the world works. That is where I feel this movie was a let down.

I thought it was good but not great. I’m not quite sure what all the 5* reviewers saw that I didn’t but clearly we have a gulf in opinion. If you don’t know the history behind what happened at Dunkirk you learn very little from this movie. There is no customary written intro and exit heralding the figures of such an achievement of human spirit and determination and I think that was greatly missing.

I would have loved at the end to know how many men were on the beach, how many returned, how many ships, boats and vessels retrieved them, how many planes covered them and a summary of what happened next. I think if you are highlighting a movie about what happened over the course of I think a week so important in history, that you could have taken the time to add a couple of written slides at the end giving you the figures.

I honestly don’t think any other country could have pulled off what we did that week. A call goes out that Englishmen are stranded on a beach in France and as many ships, boats, ferries and the like that can manage it head across the sea into a war zone – unarmed and unprepared with a moments notice, risking their own lives and livelihoods to bring them back. That is what needed to be made more of in this movie.

For those people sailing across most of them used their boats for work, if they got sunk or were killed that risked the lives of their families and the people who relied on their business. That is a hell of a thing. I know a lot of the ships were commandeered by the British Navy but I believe a lot of people joined in regardless to help out.

The movie made reference to the fact that we brought French soldiers back but I haven’t heard this before. Not that it showed you any French soldiers returning, the leader makes reference to them having to wait.

The one thing the movie lacks is the rawness of the situation given it shows no real injured soldiers, there are no dead bodies, even in the sea there is minimal floating debris and bodies following the sinkings. It shows the beach being bombed and the explosions and yet everyone gets up and back into line. When all the ships have gone the beach is empty, which is unrealistic.

There was reportedly around 400,000 men on that beach, there would have been weapons, vehicles, dead bodies, rubbish, shrapnel and all sorts lining the beach. Anyone who has lived with a man knows how much mess they can make so you can’t tell me 400,000 of them left the beach completely clear.

The flashback sequences weren’t very obvious either. It took me a minute to realise we were seeing the same part again from a different perspective and it was annoying a couple of times.

I don’t think it’s accurate that only 3 Spitfires were sent out to protect the boats. I know they wouldn’t have used everyone but 3 seems a bit light. Also due to the flashbacks it seems a Spitfire can drift for an extraordinarily long time with engine failure and damage.

Seeing the WW2 planes now gives me goosebumps, I can’t imagine how those men in the ships and fighting on the beaches and fields felt as those wings flew over to protect them. They really were a feat of engineering and without them we would have lost the war.

As a film it told a sanitized story of war from the perspective of the sea, beach and air. I don’t doubt it was based on things that happened and there were elements of risk shown but I think it could’ve been more realistic. I also wish they’d added an educational element at the end for all the young people watching who don’t know much about WW2.

For me it was good but I like a little bit more grit in my war films.

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