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Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)
#21
Dig,


I'm a parent too and that movie rang hollow for me. And don't get me started on the ending. I've said it before and I'll say it again, his plots are like Rube Goldberg machine. There is more care in lining up everything just so than in telling an emotionally engaging story. Obviously your mileage does vary.
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#22
You can tell by its MPAA rating that this war movie was made to be awesome for 13 year-olds.
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#23
(07-24-2017, 10:45 AM)beezo Wrote: You can tell by its MPAA rating that this war movie was made to be awesome for 13 year-olds.

Do you honestly believe that?


...

This film is simply fantastic. See it in IMAX 70mm if you can, there's nothing else like it.

As for Nolan's characters, I think he's done great in the past. Interstellar is one of the most emotional films I've ever seen and not only am I not a parent, I have no plans of being one any time soon. Opinions vary of course. Dunkirk is very different though because Nolan has very specifically forgone character development and dialogue for pure visual storytelling. You don't care about the characters in the typical sense but you empathize with them as Nolan puts you right in their shoes and makes their experiences feel real for you.
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#24
U
(07-24-2017, 10:54 AM)DominicCobb Wrote:
(07-24-2017, 10:45 AM)beezo Wrote: You can tell by its MPAA rating that this war movie was made to be awesome for 13 year-olds.

Do you honestly believe that?


...

This film is simply fantastic. See it in IMAX 70mm if you can, there's nothing else like it.

As for Nolan's characters, I think he's done great in the past. Interstellar is one of the most emotional films I've ever seen and not only am I not a parent, I have no plans of being one any time soon. Opinions vary of course. Dunkirk is very different though because Nolan has very specifically forgone character development and dialogue for pure visual storytelling. You don't care about the characters in the typical sense but you empathize with them as Nolan puts you right in their shoes Nolan makes their experiences feel real for you.
Guy with screen name Dominic Cobb defends Nolan character development? Color me shocked.  Tongue
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#25
His best character!


Well, maybe the Joker...
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#26
(07-24-2017, 10:54 AM)DominicCobb Wrote:
(07-24-2017, 10:45 AM)beezo Wrote: You can tell by its MPAA rating that this war movie was made to be awesome for 13 year-olds.

Do you honestly believe that?

Yes.

Dunkirk is extremely well made technically with a sense of tension akin to tightening a guitar string well past its breaking point.  I saw it in IMAX (the real thing, not one of those wanna-be theaters) and the camera work - particularly in the dog-fighting sequences - are such that only the IMAX could give it the justice it deserves.

To say it's a great war movie for 13 year olds, isn't exactly a condemnation of the film.  It is great...for a 13 year old.  What does this film add to the topic of war?  Does the film say anything unique about its qualities - desperation, hopelessness, futility, patriotism, shame, glory?  Does this film add to that conversation in any meaningful way?  The PG13 rating, along with the film's lack of blood and profanity, only sanitized its premise.  In fact, the characters seem peculiarly out of harms way on account of it - in direct contradiction to the perils of men stranded on a beach while being bombed from above without recourse.

The most compelling aspect of the movie, outside of its technical work, is the screenplay's labyrinthe approach to telling the three different narratives.  This complex narrative isn't new to Nolan, who used it in Memento and Inception.   But the complex narrative in Memento wasn't just a high-wire routine.  It served a purpose insofar as it created for the audience the same feeling that Guy Pearce's character felt.  Moreover, the complex narrative in Inception mirrored the dream-within-a-dream construct of its plot.  In other words, they served a narrative purpose.

The same could not be said of Dunkirk.  There is no thematic message to which it is tied.  At best, it is a perfunctory necessity in order to tell the three stories equally throughout the screenplay, rather than having only the air sequences near the end, which is what would happen should the story be told chronologically. At worst, the complex narrative obfuscates what thematic message the film is trying to portray.  Unfortunately (or forunately?), I don't think there is a thematic message at all, so the complex narrative doesn't obfuscate anything.  In fact, without a message, the narrative complexity becomes the highlight - nay, the purpose - of this movie.  

My sense is that Nolan would have been just as happy to make a movie about anything, provided he would be able to utilize the same interlacing narrative format he used here.  I could see him making a sports movie, a natural disaster movie, or a political movie instead of the story of Dunkirk.  To be harsh, Nolan took a story about stranded soldiers on a beachhead being systemmically killed by their enemies without means by which to fight back, and made a movie about himself.

Look, Dunkirk has some magnificent craft and it should be experienced in the IMAX if at all.  It challenges viewers to hold multiple narratives in place in order to understand what is going on and when.  But this is the only thing that is challenging about the movie.  And it's a challenge a 13 year old can meet and enjoy.  And, thanks to its MPAA rating, they can!
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#27
I don't think anything about the film makes war look particularly awesome, not to a 13 year old or anyone. Surely the rating is just to reach as broad an audience as possible (both so more people will learn of the story and so of course so they can make more money).

The restraints of the rating make depicting the harrowing nature of the war more challenging and interesting. Any old movie call throw in blood and gore and say "look how bad this is!" Any old movie can have the characters yelling profanities to show how scared they are. Dunkirk puts you in the place of the soldiers, waiting on the beach, not knowing if they might get bombed, in the boats, not knowing if they might get torpedoed, in the water, not knowing if they might drown or be charred to death by burning oil. The despair is there - you don't need gruesome images for that, nor swear words. The looks on the soldiers faces are often enough. 

To say that the film doesn't add anything to the topic of war is pretty strange, honestly. This is not a typical war movie (not just in structure). This isn't about a group of men on a mission - well, it is, but the mission is simply to survive. This isn't about the glories of war or about killing Nazis. Only two characters, the pilots, even get that chance and 

one gets shot down and returns home only to be heckled, and the other runs out of fuel and ends up a POW.

We never even see any enemy soldiers, save one out of focus moment

again, when they've just captured Hardy's pilot.

At the end of the film 

it's made clear that the victory was just survival. The soldiers coming back are dismayed and ashamed, thinking they've failed. But we're reminded that sometimes surviving is enough. That's a pretty mature message for a war movie to have. Is it a message that's appropriate for all ages to hear? Absolutely. But it's a very adult message that goes against the typical ideas of rah rah war movies that glorify the heroes with the highest kill counts. Maybe it's not what you meant, but when I hear "war movie for 13 year olds," that's what I think, not something as unique and in some ways quite subversive as Dunkirk.

As for the fractured timeline, the intent there seems to be much the same as in Memento. Disorientation, just of a different sort. If we were given a straightforward third person omniscient representation of the story (as in most war films of this nature), I think it'd be harder to directly identify with the different storylines and easier to take a step back and just view the event as a whole. But in viewing each storyline separate, without the exact linear events lining up, we are allowed moments of suspense that wouldn't be there otherwise.

When it comes to thematic depth, I can assure you it is there. Perhaps it's not as complex or obvious as in his past films, or perhaps it's easy to miss because of the film's breakneck pace, but this is not a wholly shallow endeavor by any means.

As for your sense that Nolan didn't give a shit about Dunkirk and just wanted to make a movie about anything as long as it was a parallel for himself, I don't really know where this harshness is coming from but it seems misplaced. I don't think he's very secretive about his movies representing himself in some ways (most movies by most filmmakers are honestly, it's not like he's some secret narcissist, "write what you know," of course), but I don't think this film was particularly strong in those analogues, compared to others. His reasons for making the story shouldn't matter to the text of the film anyway (personally I think he wanted to make an extended suspense piece and so picked a real life story so that the stakes were baked in and immediately understood by the audience right from the start), what matters is if he treated the material with respect and did it justice. Reading an article about how a veteran of Dunkirk received the film, I'd say he did just that.
http://globalnews.ca/news/3617564/calgary-veteran-who-survived-dunkirk-causes-a-stir-at-movie-premiere/?utm_source=GlobalEdmonton&utm_medium=Facebook
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#28
Just got back from a screening in glorious 70mm.

I thought it was very interesting how they didn't show a single german soldier. I don't remember hearing a single instance of the word "Nazi". It was all "The Enemy".

I can't have been the only one thinking "Chronological cut" while watching it, right?
This is another film I'd adore to see in black and white.
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#29
(07-30-2017, 04:51 PM)Zamros Wrote: I can't have been the only one thinking "Chronological cut" while watching it, right?
This is another film I'd adore to see in black and white.

100% had both of those thoughts as I was watching the film!
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#30
Watched 'Dunkirk' yesterday in IMAX 70mm and it was a pretty overwhelming experience. Apart from the gorgeous look, it was the sound that stood out and shocked the most.

Images/scenes that will stick in the mind...



- That first shot where the camera is slowly moving forward in time with the walking soldiers, so you are instantly feel like you are there.
- Father and Son on the Moonstone exchanging a silent look of agreement, when the son lies about his friend being dead.
- The look on Branagh's face as he accepts his death and the emotion when he is saved.
- Hardy in his Spitfire gliding along the Dunkirk shore.
- The final (almost I think) burning Spitfire at the end, like a Viking funeral. That iconic plane means so much.

Looking forward to a 2nd viewing digital viewing.
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