Dunkirk


#1

I bailed on lunch early today to grab tacos and see Dunkirk. It was pretty good. I went in hoping for something akin to the Longest Day, The Battle of Britain, or A Bridge Too Far. The perennial classics sprawling over multiple story lines replayed repeatedly on AMC or TCM every Memorial Day. It was not any of those movies, not really, but it was in my opinion, pretty good.

Without giving any spoilers, there were a number of things done thematically that I loved. The entire movie is essentially built to increase tension. The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer is extremely paired down, often times featuring just a syncopated beat meant to approximate the ticking of a stop watch: a constant reminder that time is quickly running out for the beach head. Almost without exception the Germans are never actually seen save evidence of their presence: the distant rumble of artillery, the staccato of machine gun fire, a torpedo appearing from the fog. With the exception of generous helpings of Luftwaffe, there are no human adversaries to lash out against: instead you’re left much like the soldiers on the beach, alone, stuck in a closing trap, terrified of an unseen but ever present enemy. This pays off magnificently with the arrival of the (70 year old spoilers?) flotilla of British civilian vessels. The sense of relief was enough that I was near moved to tears.

And then there’s the air battles. oh the air battles. They’re not perfect: no movie is. An excuse is made early on in the movie that Spitfires have to stay low to conserve fuel, which doesn’t make much sense aeronautically, but damned if it doesn’t work from a cinematic perspective. There are dogfights between Spits and Buchons, and filmed from inside and around the aircraft. What isn’t an actual aircraft is a large scale model (Heinkels and Stukas), but it was close enough I actually had to go look it up to verify. With the exception of some minor CGI towards the end, this is as worthy an entry into the WWII air combat canon as any.

I’m going to go fly some Spit now.


#2

I keep purposefully blurring my vision when I look at this post so as not to read too much into it but sentence one of paragraph two caught my interest. Noice! :slightly_smiling_face:


#3

Ray Harris Jr does a beat by beat story telling of Dunkirk, worth listening to IMHO. It’s from episode 25 to 30 in his podcast:

http://wwiipodcast.libsyn.com/rss

At times it’s a little sterile due to the rattling of of pure numbers and statistics to support the narrative of what happened. But interesting if you wish to gain a better picture of the whole ordeal.

His account of the Battle of Britain is also great albeit a bit dry at times. It gives you a great insight in why the Luftwaffe could never win it though.

Anyway, go listen to podcasts, people :wink:


#4

Going to see it tonight, in IMAX. Very excited.


#5

Thanks for the link @TheAlmightySnark. I live on audible books and podcasts. Listening to e25 this morning with MUDSPIKE mug and French roast (pun unintended).

As far as the movie, I pretty much had the same experience as @near_blind. With a few nit picks, which weren’t deal breakers. As much detail as the director/producers spent on historical accuracy given the available ships and aircraft, the 3 ship vic approaching the AO in a formation so tight that it looked more Red Arrows than WWII air combat, and at such a low altitude seemed a bit silly. I’m thinking that 20 foot separation would be more appropriate than 2 ft. And at Dunkirk around 10k minimum would be a reasonable altitude to ingress, unless one wanted to be bounced by escorts. And the yellow noses, which didn’t show up until later, only made the Buchons more evident IMO. I’m thinking dark fuselages with yellow spinners would have had looked less Hollywood and more menacing.

Minor negatives in an otherwise wonderful cinematic experience.


#6

Yea. Cried when the civvie flotilla arrived.


#7

Yeah, “near moved to tears” equates to tears in my eyes, sheer effort to save face in front of the elderly keeping them there.


#8

Been waiting to see this one myself. Every review I’ve read really liked it. Of course I’m a big fan of the director as well.


#9

IL2 Cliffs of Dover Spitfire skins based on the film’s Fortis flight available for download at ATAG.

https://theairtacticalassaultgroup.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25106

Operation Dynamo single player campaign.

https://theairtacticalassaultgroup.com/forum/Downloads.php?do=download&downloadid=105


#10

After seeing Dunkirk, I really hope someone puts “The Few” onto the IMAX big screen.


#11

Went to see it last night. My missus and daughter were unusually tense and subsequently relieved (tearfully so), especially, by the two scenes when the ditched spit pilot was rescued, and when the other one did the deadstick on the beach. I on the other hand, for personal reasons, was a little bit moved by shot of the Blenheim overflying the yacht. My dad was on 25 Sqd at the time of Operation Dynamo. You can do the rest of the research on aircraft types on squadrons, if you like, regarding that. :slight_smile:


#12

Just found out its playin at my local theater in Qatar… Forget waiting! I’m going to see it today


#13

I saw it a little late. I intentionally did not view this thread before seeing the film but I was warned by a friend about some of the borderline nonsense with the Spits. I was mostly successful at keeping my commitment to myself to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the film for what it is. And it was great.

The landing on the beach was dumb on many levels but I see the dramatic need. Its like spaceships producing sound. Very nice writeup @near_blind!


#14

So I’ve been avoiding that because mentioning it or it’s placement in the movie sort of spoils the entire Ferrier plot line, but now we’ve ripped that bandaid… Right?!

That was the scene most egregiously in service to the plot because someone had to not make it. The only explanation I can think of is he understood the morale boost his aircraft was giving the troops on the beach and didn’t want to ditch within sight of them. but even then, just hang a left and go land next to one of the hundreds of boats we just saw. This bugged me to no end.


#15

Sorry to tear off the Band-Aid the you had the class to leave in place. :slight_smile:

I jokingly thought maybe he had just seen all those drowning sailors, soldiers, nurses, oil fires and U-Boats and concluded, I cast my lot as a prisoner. And while we are at it, leave the gear up!


#16

After seeing Dunkirk I now kill my engine in the Spit a mile from the runway. Makes it much easier.