Dunkirk Review

Abandoned AA Guns

What was left on the beaches of Dunkirk, 1940

Im starting off this blog reviewing Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s brand new epic. Me and Dunkirk have a somewhat . I filmed a 10 minute documentary feature about the evacuation through the eyes of veteran, Garth Wright. What this old soldier described as he was on the beaches was total chaos. Burnt out vehicles, the seaport town, bombed to hell, hundres apon thousands of British, French and Belgian troops looking for a way off the beach and back to Britain.

 

But does the film convey Garth’s words. In a matter of speaking, this film delivers. from the opening shots of british troops walking through a deserted street, with flyers dropping from the air, to the final moments of the film, Nolan brings accross the panic, and hopeless nature of the troops on the ground.

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Troops packed on the Mole, waiting for the next ship home, as one looks up at an incoming Stukas.

There are moments where the gull-winged Ju-87, otherwise known as the “Stuka”, werediving onto the beaches to strafe and bomb the Mole, the protective jetty of Dunkirk harbour, you felt the terror of the siren of the aircraft as it dived. You can feel how exposed and desperate these men are.

 

One thing I will also mention is the plot, or multiple plots. The film is told from the perspectives of 3 fascets of the evacuation: The troops on the ground, the pilots flying defencive sorties providing air cover, and the crew of one of the “Little ships of Dunkirk”. Seeing this film for the first time may confuse you, but as long as you see these stories slowely coming together and interweaving, then this is going to be an entertaining film, and its a very different way of telling a film of this magnatude.

dunkirk-6

Kenneth Brannah’s Commander Boulton, Pier Master organising the evacuation, looks at another incoming bombing raid.

The cast including Tom Hardy, Kenneth Brannah, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphey to name but a few, all played fantastic roles. One guy I was skeptical of was Harry Styles. I am supprised to say he played his role extremely well. Gave it his all, and made me feel how desperate he was to get home.

 

One thing I loved in this film, was the use of period aircraft. From the flight of Spitfires, to even Ha-112-M1L Buchon and what looked like a CASA 2.111, Spanish built-under-licence Bf-109e’s and Heinkel He-111’s. One of my favorite films of all time is Battle of Britain (1969) and seeing these aircraft together on screen reminded me so much of that. whether it was intentional or not, it was a nice love letter to that film. One aircraft which was a welcome sight was the Blenheim Mk.1, the RAF’s light bomber during the early war years.

One thing which this film surprissed me, was how it made me feel as a cinema goer, feeling the desperation, the chaos of those dark days of late May – June 1940. This film kept me glued to my seat for the whole run time, and i’m glad I didn’t miss a minute.

War films aren’t for everyone. But this film doesn’t glorify war. It shows the struggles of all fascets of the evacuation. From Army and Royal Navy officers organising men off the beaches. To the pilots of the RAF that provided support from the air. To the ordinary men that were trapped with a narrow corridor to escape, and to the ordinary people and naval personel who took the little ships accross the narrow stretch of channel to rescue the men trapped on the beaches.

My documentary feature is available to view on YouTube. I fought at Dunkirk, written by Mike Rossiter is also a fascinating read about the outbreak of the war, the BEF’s (British Expeditionary Force)  arrival into France in September 1939, through to the evacuation and beyond.

I know that this short review can’t convey what you see in the cinema. All I can suguest is watch it. It is definately worth a watch.

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