Why was Dunkirk 2017 so confusing


Christopher Nolan's excellent war film "Dunkirk" shows the horrors of war while avoiding explicit violence. Nevertheless, the film is haunting.

How brutal does a war film have to be to be daunting? Christopher Nolan's World War II epic "Dunkirk" tells of the drama that took place in May and June 1940 on the beach in the northern French city of Dunkirk. Tens of thousands of Allied soldiers died in the city surrounded by Germans, but hundreds of thousands survived because they were brought back to England via the Canal just in time in a spectacular rescue operation. Nolan tells all of this without showing a single drop of blood. As a result, what caused discussions in advance, "Dunkirk" was also released for young people. Did Nolan shy away from explicit images in order to lure young viewers into the cinema?

Is "Dunkirk" a war movie?

Not at all, says the scolded man. He didn't want to concentrate on the "bloody aspects of the battle"; so many have done that before him. And anyway: "Dunkirk" is not a war film at all, but rather wants to tell an exciting story. That is of course not correct.

"Dunkirk" is a war film, and what a war one. But Nolan is right about one thing: when thousands of soldiers crouch down on the beach as German planes drop their bombs over them, and then many get up and some stay where they are, it's more haunting than showing torn bodies.

"Dunkirk" is an unusual story for a war film in which the focus is not on the American but on the British troops. Even though they actually lost the Battle of Dunkirk and the withdrawal was only turned into a triumph by British propaganda. A few days later, German troops took Paris. What happened in France, said Winston Churchill a few days after the rescue operation, was only a small ray of hope in the midst of a military disaster. Accordingly, Nolan also refrains from throwing a hero story on the screen. There are no grieving widows and no waving flags here.

Nolan focuses on three little stories in the chaos of the Dunkirk drama. A pilot (Tom Hardy) approaches the beach from the air in order to drive away enemy fighter planes, and a small boat on the water. Together with his son (Tom Glynn-Carney) and his best friend (Barry Keoghan) as well as dozens of other ships, Dawson (Mark Rylance) sets out across the canal to evacuate his compatriots on the beach in Dunkirk. This unusual rescue operation should go down in history as the "Dunkirk Spirit". However, Nolan's main focus is on what is happening on the beach itself.

He picks out some details from the battle picture, enlarges them and thus illustrates the horrors of war. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, with whom Nolan already worked on "Interstellar", captures this in large IMAX images, which, when you look at them, understand that Nolan has a certain distrust of streaming services like Netflix.

The young British soldier Tommy (great: Fionn Whitehead) runs through the deserted Dunkirk in the oppressive opening sequence, comes under fire and suddenly stands on the endless sandy beach, and what opens up in front of him is the whole madness of the war. 400,000 British soldiers are waiting here, surrounded on all sides by the Germans, only the way across the sea is open, and you can almost see them, the British homeland and thus freedom. In the confusion, Tommy meets Alex, who is the same age, and tries to escape this hell with him.

For the role of Alex, Nolan hired the former one-direction singer Harry Styles. Nolan said he had no idea how well known Styles was. Rather, he cast the teen star "because he fit the role wonderfully and he deserves to be there." In fact, Styles, who is currently trying to make a name for himself as a serious musician with his new album, does his job pretty well. In the filth of battle, he can hardly be recognized as the pop star he is.

The war in "Dunkirk" is an individual's struggle for survival, it is the desperate crouching when bombs fall from the sky, the clinging to the last ship on the way home or the fight against the masses of water that penetrate the cockpit after Pilot Collins ( Jack Lowden) was shot down in the English Channel. In all of this there is hardly any talk. If you were to write down everything that is said in "Dunkirk", it would hardly take up more space than this text. But what is there to say?

The most haunting thing about "Dunkirk" isn't the dialogue, it's the sound of war, the bloodcurdling screeching of the German fighter planes, the bombing of the wooden pier and the sound of warships when they groan on the bottom. That the war is brutal and bloody was known even before "Dunkirk". Now you also know what it sounds like. It sounds awful.

Source: teleschau - the media service