starring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowdem, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy
written and directed by Christopher Nolan
War drama about the British evacuation of about 300,000 troops of their Expeditionary Force from the beaches of the French city of Dunkirk in late-May-early-June 1940. The film is being praised left, right and centre. I saw it with my mother at an Odeon Galaxy Cineplex in my hometown, on Sunday, July 30th.
It was okay, but I didn’t think it was that great because the story stubbornly avoided portraying the magnitude of the task of removing 300,000 from Europe with the conquering Wehrmacht all around. Instead, it was told from the perspective of just a few men: an infantryman trying to get off the beach; Spitfire pilots balancing the choice between protecting their ships and men against enemy attack versus low fuel and a diminishing chance of returning to England safely; a pleasure boat captain crossing the Channel with a flotilla of other small craft to remove troops that the big warships could not reach; and, a Royal Navy commander watching it all from the dock, trying to save his army. Each one could be its own story. I think British directors have an affinity for this kind of story-telling. I mean, overly-broad epics with ensemble casts that could better be divided into more intense, focused dramas. The first time I noticed it was in another WWII epic, A Bridge Too Far (1977, directed by Richard Attenborough), which I’ve always thought was a disappointing movie for the same reason: over-reaching, excessively-broad scope; inadequate use of the talent pool of the ensemble cast.
I enjoyed the Spitfires most and the sound of their Rolls Royce engines. Those were cool planes.
I completely missed Harry Styles. When I saw the name of the former One Direction singing star in the credits I immediately knew who he was. But I could not recall his role in the film. Stupid me.