Dunkirk

Saw Dunkirk. Quite a let down. As an action flick it was pretty good, and a lot of it was gorgeous, but as far as being in anyway a reflection or retelling of the battle and rescue at Dunkirk, it flopped. It failed badly as history, which wouldn’t be an issue except that it presented itself as a historical epic. The three primary narrative threads–the RAF pilots, the soldiers on the beach, and the boat–all avoided showing the evacuation completely. The pilots engaged in dog fights over the channel, the soldiers spent the entire evacuation in the hold of a beached fishing boat acting like a cowardly mob instead of a platoon of Royal infantry, and the boat picked up soldiers without getting anywhere near the beach. All three subplots were arranged so that we never saw the evacuation off the beaches at all. It’d be like shooting The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan without showing the D-Day landings. Perhaps there was no financing. So we get an action flick instead of a historical drama. But it’s a shame, as it was an epic operation,  some very high drama, and an extraordinary tale, and we miss nearly all of it in this film that promised all of that. Imagine what David Lean could have done with such material.

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