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"Dunkirk Thoughts" Topic

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2,046 hits since 28 Jul 2017
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Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

Yes, the movie was a snapshot of what most probably was a fairly typical incident during the entire evacuation.

So, for that, I wish those who did not understand history would learn a bit more and apply it to a movie, before getting on a soapbox for their particular rant or cause.

BUT…having stated as such and as much, I can understand where the cries from the wilderness come from.

And finally…

I blubbered and downright cried for much of the movie…and I'll Beat the Crap out of anyone who makes fun of me for doing so if they confront me about it face to face!

We all know death, we all know OF death…if you watched Dunkirk…you honestly Witnessed DEATH!

Not a feel good movie in the regular sense, but an absolutely Terrific movie all the same!

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 9:11 a.m. PST

I enjoyed it. I thought it gave a good sense of being an Englishman at Dunkirk whether soldier, sailor or civilian: the sense of community that was and hopefully still is England. I cannot watch "Saving Private Ryan" any more due to the realistic portrayal of Omaha Beach and the last skirmish. I did not have that trouble with "Dunkirk". It was not as focused on the horror of the dying but gave a good sense of feeling alive but dangerously close to being killed. I think it was good, and could have been great.

Buffs man Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 9:43 a.m. PST

"Englishmen" . try reading Saul Davids "Churchill's sacrifice of the 51st Highland Division " . Have you heard of "the Act of Union "

Xintao28 Jul 2017 9:50 a.m. PST

After Dunkirk: Churchill's Sacrifice of the Highland Division


$0.99 USD On Kindle for the next 14 hours.

Buffs man Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 9:55 a.m. PST

My late uncle was one of the lucky men to get back to Britain ,and like the OP I blubbered a few times kept thinking of "my Uncle Geordie"

Onomarchos Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 10:54 a.m. PST

It was great to hear Michael Caine's voice as the Spitfire flight leader.

Puddinhead Johnson28 Jul 2017 11:01 a.m. PST

Did anyone else think that the movie did a poor job of conveying the scale of the evacuation?

300,000 plus men were evacuated. But in the movie the beaches where they assembled looked fairly empty. And they looked fairly clean. Where was all the debris and detritus you'd expect to see from an army scrambling to get away? Didn't they have enough money for more extras and/or proper CGI?

And how about the flotilla of private vessels that did much of the rescuing? If you only watched the movie you'd wonder at how such a small number of small boats could have possibly moved hundreds of thousands of men.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 11:21 a.m. PST

For crowded beach it's going to be hard to beat the 5 minute tracking shot in _Atonement_: YouTube link

That said I'm looking forward to seeing the new film.

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 11:37 a.m. PST


Methinks part of it was the fact that there was very little CGI involved and almost every boat, plane, vehicle was not only real, but…expensivly so

I'm guessing a chunk of change had to go into the realism and the rest suffered, a bit. But it seemed that the movie took place during the relatively early part of the evacuation, when there was some semblance of order, etc.

I do understand what you are saying though, a bit more "detritus/junque" lying around would have added to the effect.

Vigilant28 Jul 2017 11:48 a.m. PST

Saw it last night and I'm sure there is a great movie in. There somewhere, but the muddled timeline of showing the same incidents from different points of view let it down for me. It is well filmed, has real equipment and the action looks realistic, but for me it needed a more structured approach. That said I would still recommend it to anyone as a film to see on the big screen, and not to wait to watch on TV, no matter how big your home screen is.

Korvessa28 Jul 2017 12:43 p.m. PST

My favorite character.
During one of the bombing runs of the beach, there is a guy in the background laying on his back shooting his rifle at the Stuka – no realistic hope of accomplishing anything – but defiant to the last, even as he is blown up by the bombs.
Seems very British to me.
(and I mean that as a compliment)

marmont1814 Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 12:51 p.m. PST

Actually pudding head, nearly 100,000 troops where rescued from other ports, and the royal navy rescued the majority of the troops the small ships saving around 70,0000 still a significant number, the morale effect of puling together was the miracle of Dunkirk and the valiant resistance of the rear guard

Northern Monkey28 Jul 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

Rubbish film. Totally missed the point that numerous very cinematic delaying actions bought time for the evacuation. Just a rehash of the little boats story.

advocate Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 2:28 p.m. PST

A very good film. I'd very happily watch it again in the cinema (it would lose a lot on a smaller screen). I loved the limited use of CGI. But don't make the mistake of thinking that it in any way attempts to be a documentary.

uglyfatbloke28 Jul 2017 2:43 p.m. PST

Buffs…I expect you mean the Treaty of Union? There were two Acts of Union (one in each parliament) but all they really did was wind up the existing institutions so that the new UK parliament could come into being. Admittedly successive governments have moved the goalposts as far they can ever since….

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 5:45 p.m. PST

I watched again this evening. I thought the beach scenes looked pretty much like this

Not much gear, mostly just lines of soldiers queuing up. Give the length of the actual beach, I am sure that there was a lot if variation in crowds and abandoned gear.

bsrlee28 Jul 2017 8:31 p.m. PST

Most of the gear, whether personal or vehicular, was abandoned when the fuel ran out for the vehicles or the roads were destroyed/blocked. Most of the guns that made it to the coast were hidden back in the sand hills or trees, not sitting out for the Luftwaffe to use as target practice.

Somewhere in there were about 75,000 Frenchmen who ended up being sent back from Britain to southern France to rejoin the fight but instead arrived just in time for the surrender. I imagine they were not happy.

magister equitum29 Jul 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

Has anyone seen Weekend at Zuydcoote? Another fine movie about Dunkirk with Belmondo. I saw it a few years ago. YouTube link

jowady29 Jul 2017 2:49 p.m. PST

I never realized that a Spit could glide so far, why didn't the pilot just glide back to Britain? And he apparently shot down that Stuka while he was gliding. And boy, I had no idea how much ammo they carried, apparently a limitless supply. To me it was an incredible disappointment. For my money it didn't do justice to what those guys went through. And look, the burning Spit scene at the end, with a mock up that obviously had no engine… btw I guess the writers missed that aircraft like the Spit get better range at high, not low altitude. Maybe they should have read what Bader and Stanford Tuck, both of whom were blooded over Dunkirk had to say about it. And while I'm at it how about a bit of love for the Hurri?

So at the end, for my British cousins, you and especially the men and women who went through this, deserve a much better telling of the struggle and the sacrifice that turned Dunkirk into a redemptive moment.

dBerczerk29 Jul 2017 3:04 p.m. PST

Great movie -- thoroughly enjoyable. Intense. Powerful.

If you enjoyed "Saving Private Ryan," "Fury," "Unbroken," and "Hacksaw Ridge" -- despite their faults; you don't want to miss "Dunkirk."

See it in IMAX.

Take a handkerchief.

Oakley29 Jul 2017 5:54 p.m. PST

Despite what I am about to say, this is a good movie and one that does great credit to all those involved in its making and more importantly those who were involved in the original production.
I thought the flying scenes were the best and the worst parts of the movie. The amount of ammunition whilst excessive could be forgiven, but the ability of a spitfire to fly what appeared to be the length of the Dunkirk beach, make a turn, shoot down an Heinkel bomber and then fly back across the evacuation beaches without losing speed or altitude was beyond creditable. I also noticed the burning wreck was without an engine, but we can overlook that detail, it would be like pointing out that the plating on the sides of the ships were welded and not riveted…
Less forgivable was the buoyancy of a Spitfire which my wife pointed out was better than most of the ships used in the film. The producer appeared to have forgotten that in the nose of a Spitfire is a lump of metal that weighs about three quarters of a tonne and is going to do an impersonation of an anchor the moment it hit the water.
My other major criticism is the portrayal of rifle bullets retaining steel plate piercing power when traveling underwater. Remember the fishing boat hull getting shot through under the waterline?
Although eluded to in the dialogue I think the film should have had a caption before the closing credits which told the numbers evacuated and the number of days the operation continued.
Whatever your thoughts, please do not let my comments spoil the movie or put you off going.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 6:00 p.m. PST

I saw it today and it was okay. The personal point of view was very up-close and, well, personal :) Of course a person going into the movie and knowing nothing of the campaign in France in 1940 and the Dunkirk evacuation will come out of the movie still knowing basically nothing. Aside from the two officers talking on the mole we get no glimpse of the context or the big picture.

As noted, the non-linear time frame of the movie with three parallel tracks set to a 7-day, 1 day, and 1 hour time line, all interspersed, was rather confusing until you caught on. And jowady, my initial thought was the same as yours: boy that Spitfire has a lot of ammunition, with it seemingly shooting down two HE-111, a Stuka, and about five Me-109s, until I realized that with the wacky time-frame business, we are seeing the guy shooting down the SAME planes over and over again. I think he only gets three all together.

It was worth seeing, but I can't really call it a great movie.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 6:02 p.m. PST

Saw it today with some wargame buddies. Enjoyed it; wish we could have seen more rear guard battles by the French.

Dwindling Gravitas Inactive Member30 Jul 2017 2:58 a.m. PST

Watched it last night.

Absolute crap. Really …

Waste of £16.00 GBP quid

I agree with Northern Monkey.

Militia Pete Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2017 4:59 a.m. PST

Saw it yesterday. Worst part was the lady behind me saying "why are the Americans just standing on the beach?"

I thought it was powerful and well done. It is a snapshot from three points of time 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week.

Just when you think it is over, there is a ray of hope when the troops are on the train.
Complaining about a mock up of a Spit being burned is pretty silly. It is not like they are millions of them sitting around to be disposed of. Thought the pilot scenes at the end was strong. Facing the Germans watching his plane burn sending a message in my mind. Well worth it.

Lascaris30 Jul 2017 9:50 a.m. PST

I liked it a lot. I found the 3 interwoven time periods to be innovative and interesting; kind of like how Memento has interwoven scenes going either backwards or forwards chronologically. It definitely was more than just another "bullets flying while heroic deeds take place" kind of movie.

The various focus of a 1st person trying to escape at whatever cost, a 2nd who was going to pitch in and help even though he was out of his element and the 3rd a professional who was willing to risk his own life to try to save others worked really well for me to show some of the different responses to stress that humans can have.

I enjoyed it.

basileus66 Inactive Member30 Jul 2017 10:02 p.m. PST

I liked it a lot. I don't think it is pretended as an accurate description of what happened, but a metaphor of the terror and anguish suffered by the soldiers. My favourite part is at the end, in the train, while the survivors are thinking that they will be treated as cowards while the opposite is true. Their faces of surprise are priceless. They knew what they did to get back home; they didn't feel like heroes; they felt like frauds. All of those things are conveyed by the faces of the two actors, in the train. And yes, there are moments of "what-the-hell!" (the Spit downing a diving Stuka while gliding over the beaches) but it also has what it is probably one of the most realistic scenes in any war movie: when the soldiers got into the train and one of them tries to speak with the other survivor, only to realize that he is sleeping with exhaustion. That is something that a soldier would do: sleep, once the immediate danger is over.

Overall a great film. Not as spectacular as Saving Private Ryan, but great nonetheless.

Ottoathome Inactive Member04 Aug 2017 1:07 p.m. PST

I saw the film. I confess I was from the beginning overcome with emotion such that I was crying for many of the scenes and on the verge of doing so for those I wasn't.

One of the most heart tearing was the scene where they are in the beached trawler and they are being holed by "target practice" the enemy doesn't even know their inside it, and they're like puppies in a bucket AND they're going to drown like rats.

That's the point of the movie. There is nothing these guys can do. They are just getting killed and there is no hope.

My wife and I saw the movie in a late morning matinee. I hate people who talk in a movie and my wife asked me several questions and I whispered the answers in her ear. One of the other patrons was behind me and he must have realized I was informed as what was going on. He asked me "When are these guys going to turn around and start winning." There weren't many in the theater, maybe a dozen people, the nearest was the guy behind me, and beyond him maybe 20 seats away. So I was able to talk to this person. I told him. "They can't, all they can do is die., right now, a few minutes from now, two days from now. It's the story of those who have NO hope.

The most wrenching scene for me when I really lost it was when they disembark in England, and the blind civilian handing out blankets tells the soldier that he's a hero. The soldier scoffs "What hero, all we did is survive." And the man says "Sometimes that's enough." And he places his hand on his face. Make no mistake about it. That is the hand of God conveying both hope and absolution.

I'm going to go see it again. I hope I can watch it again.

dBerczerk05 Aug 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

Ottoathome -- quite a review. Thank you!

Lion in the Stars05 Aug 2017 12:53 p.m. PST

Dunkirk thoughts?

Holeeeey [expletives deleted], Stukas with the dive sirens are TERRIFYING!!!

Legion 406 Aug 2017 7:18 a.m. PST

Yes, great insightful review Otto. It always interests me how many people can come away with such varying views. On the same movie, book, etc. I like to hear both perspectives, then decide for myself. But reviews are always useful, IMO. Thanks guys …

By John 5407 Aug 2017 10:23 a.m. PST

Loved it, powerful, moving, no meaningless heriocs, no, 'get some' macho crap, and when the Tommies were cheering the little ships sailing past them back to Dunkirk, I cried.

Great film, leave you Wargamer minutia rivet counting crap at the door, and enjoy a very well made film.


Ottoathome Inactive Member08 Aug 2017 8:37 p.m. PST

dear John 54
I completely agree. Since the day I saw the movie a little more than a week ago I have wanted to go back and see it again.

I have hesitated not because it is not worth it, but I wonder what I will see that I have not already seen. I wonder what would I want to see that is not there? The movie is a masterpiece. I probably will go.

Haitiansoldier Inactive Member11 Aug 2017 5:59 p.m. PST

I didn't like it at all. It was far too intense and there was no good old infantry fighting between the British and Germans which happened several times during the campaign. Not to mention the plot line was lacking on who is who.

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