Monday, July 31, 2017

Film Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Film Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Trigger Warning: No spoilers ahead.  The safety is on, so it can't go off.  See?

Rating: PG-13 (for intense war experience and some language)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Drama
Runtime: 107 minutes

Tomato Meter: 83%

My rating: 3½ stars out of 5.

This is described as a fierce battle in WW II.  It's a story, or stories, set during the eponymous Battle of Dunkirk, which took place in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France.  The name means something like church in the sand, which is fitting given the amount of praying that must have been going on.  I went to see it mainly because the film has been criticized for having too many white people in it, or not having enough black people in it, or criticisms to that affect.  So I figured, why not?

Watching the film, I realized that it would help if the theater patrons had some idea of what was happening at Dunkirk and just how over 330,000 troops got trapped between the Huns and the ocean, and just why the Axis failed to saturate the place with artillery fire for several days before marching in to machine gun the survivors and bayonet the wounded.  But they didn't; instead, they spent three days regrouping and sampling the local wine, which gave the Allies enough time to evacuate over 300,000 soldiers.

Okay so far?  Okay.

The first problem I have with the film is that it constantly jumps back and forth in time, and it does so for no really good reason that I could see.  One minute we're arriving on the beach, and the next minute we're somewhere else at a much different time (generally in the future, so we all know what happens, but not why it happens... or something) with different people (natch - since time travel wasn't invented until 3027) and motivations aren't real clear.  No where do we really see the Axis chasing the Allies across Europe and cornering them in Dunkirk, which if we did, the whole show would make a lot more sense.

The second problem I have with the film is that the characters never talk about the enemy.  We never hear the terms Hun, Fritz, Heinie, Hermann, Jerry, Kraut, Marmeladinger, or Boche.  Believe me, if I had spent the past week to ten days fighting a losing battle against the enemy and finally got trapped on a beach somewhere, I would expect to hear a lot of talk about the enemy, and they wouldn't be referred to as Germans or The Enemy.  I think the PC police got hold of this one and ran it in for a touchdown.

So that's two strikes. 

The good part about the film is that the air combat scenes are much better than average, and I won't say anything more about them.  The protagonists deserve to win; nothing is handed to anyone on a silver platter.  Finally, the illustrates what happened (past tense, as this is historically accurate) when the mere civilians in this world decided to resist the Axis.  The film also has a few comedic moments.

I think a lot of people would give this one four out of five stars.  Go see it and decide for yourself.


CWMartin said...

Thanks for letting me know about 3027. Explains why my requests sent to 2214 for a new regulator for the musical Tardis keep going unanswered. I thought it was because of the bitcoin thing.

Mad Jack said...

You busted the regulator? Why aren't you using the spare I'll send you tomorrow?