“Dunkirk” Is Good, but It Isn’t A War Movie – IOTW Report

“Dunkirk” Is Good, but It Isn’t A War Movie

The weekend box office returns indicate that Chris Nolan’s “Dunkirk” held the line against “The Emoji Movie,” which had a big opening then quickly fell back.

I saw Dunkirk last Wednesday. It’s not a war movie. Dan McLaughlin says it’s more like a horror film, but I think it’s closer to a classic 70s era disaster movie.


Either way, it’s very good.  Sonny Bunch at the Washington Free Beacon knows why it stands above the typical summer fare Here

30 Comments on “Dunkirk” Is Good, but It Isn’t A War Movie

  1. Michael Savage gave a similar review a week ago.

  2. If you really want to know about the significance of Dunkirk, Winston Churchill covers that in his excellent 12 volume series on the history of World War II. it starts with the treaty of Versailles (sp?) ending world war one.

  3. Yeah. Chewing gum for the eyes. No nourishment for those starving for the true story. Writer/director turned the real story into a series of human interest stories.

    I was expecting so much more. I was disappointed.

  4. Horror movie, disaster movie or war movie. Call it what you will, but this is definitely one of the best movies out in a long time.

    I encourage you to go see it in a theater, one with with great sound and picture.

    No blood, gore or swearing (PG-13), and it is an intense experience.

  5. You know why people like it — because it is REAL, i.e. a True story. Not some make-believe, fantastic heroes/heroines, unbelievable pirates and monsters of the deep, or apes that can talk.

    We are starving for real stories. Dunkirk is not a heroic war story — for God’s sake, the Brits were evacuating their troops due to overwhelming enemy odds, to avoid a total disaster and thousands of dead. But Churchill, his generals and the British public stepped up to the plate to salvage what was left of a bad situation.

    Since history is barely taught anymore in schools, let’s start showing some real history on the big screen, instead of the WW II battles that Wonder Woman fought.

  6. Well said Loretta! Seen Wonder Woman running through the moonscape hell and destruction of a WWI battlefield without a scratch was sacrilegious!

  7. ^uh, she’s a superhero, who also exists in a world where Zeus and greek mythology is real… so… she’s supposed to be indestructible (like superman), hence the name, ‘wonder woman’. I liked it. But I guess that’s just me. > >

  8. Chuffed:
    Sacrilegious can still apply to fantasy movies. Put a cape on Jesus and have him fight Superman – Sacrilegious.

  9. Watching the gory death of a bunch of saps who fell for “patriotic duty” propaganda from a bunch of banker-shill politicians pisses me off. Oh well, Darwin or something like it.

  10. one of the greatest blunders of WWII …. the Germans had ’em surrounded w/ armor & decided to let the Luftwaffe finish the job …. the Spitfires which were a match for the 109’s) said different

  11. …. & @ Billy F ~ there wasn’t much gory death …. refreshing for a ‘modern’ movie
    … although the ‘dead stick’ shoot-down of the Messerschmitt was about the only thing over the top

  12. Very good, but not great. I’d give it an 8.

  13. The target audience, we who value a knowledge of history, really wanted this to be better than it is. I think reducing it to a personal level by following several protagonists is good, but the time line really got jumbled and hard to follow.

    There is no real way to capture the sweep of the event and the individual view points in one movie. . . this one should have been the sequel.


    It’s the first movie in my life I have EVER gotten up and walked out before it was finished. PERIOD. 1 hr and 10 min in, I couldn’t STAND IT any longer.

    🎌 Old guy on a boat with his sons, WOW! RIVETING!
    🎌 Guys trying to hide on boat with injured soldier.
    🎌 Guys hiding under a peer.
    🎌 Guys hiding on a beached boat.
    🎌 Guys trying to hide in row boat.
    🎌 Guys escaping a cargo hold.
    🎌 Guys in planes shooing stuff.
    🎌 Guy escaping crashed plane in water.
    🎌 Guys who don’t talk much—ever.

    🚩 Bleeeeech! Just a shit-heap of flipping back and forth to non-sequitur scenes in the same area where NOT MUCH HAPPENS.

    🚩 For NO LESS THAN $500 would I sit and watch this monstrously boring and irritating film.

    Ironically, they wanted to show a DISASTER, they actually did. –The film itself!

  15. Disappointed.

    My big takeaway was that even if you get on a boat and leave the shore (thinking you’re safe) there’s some bastard in a sub or bomber that’ll still kill you…..oh yeah, NEVER go below decks.

  16. Here is what I was hoping to see. The rallying of the locals to plead with them to use their craft to crops the channel to rescue their countrymen. The chaos of people scurrying about to prepare their boats and set sail in an armada.

    I saw one boat where the fine China was offloaded and lifevests loaded.

    Never saw the big armada shot. Endless dogfights was preeminent. I’m sorry. I’ve got no film making skills but I could have done better. Story got lost in the human interest stuff, which would have worked in moderation, and same with dogfights, but the film missed out on the compelling the citizenry being rallied to pull this mission off.

  17. And the musical score was way too loud and drowned out what little dialogue existed. I wasn’t there for a concert.

  18. Whoever flew the Spitfire that lost power due to fuel starvation makes Smilin’ Jack look like a piker. He wasn’t actually flying but levitating, starting with his straight and level pass along the beach without losing a foot of altitude (prop should have been windmilling). The downing of the Stuka on the bombing run with a ninety degree deflection shot while operating dead stick was breathtaking as well as completely unbelievable. The landing on the beach was a wonderful feat of airmanship as well with the airplane flying at ground level on a long final, not losing an inch of altitude, giving him enough time to manually pump down the gear and flaps before touchdown. Where did we find such men?

  19. Real wars are usually hours and days of boredom punctuated with moments of sheer terror. However, this is Hollywood, and they have to sell tickets. They know people wouldn’t go to a totally realistic war movie. The closest thing they made to one was Saving Private Ryan, but it still had that Hollywood ending. I can understand why, though. We don’t watch movies to see everyday life – we want entertainment.

    I haven’t seen Dunkirk yet, so I will reserve judgment on it. I expect it will be entertaining, and as close to the real events as feasible. I understand they may not have given enough credit to the French troops who sacrificed themselves to make the evacuation possible. They weren’t all “surrender monkeys”, regardless of current popular belief.


  20. Vietvet

    The French save our bacon during the revolutionary war. There’s no denying that. The French under ground was not made up of cowards. France has recently become no more emasculated than the rest of Europe. Save Poland. 50 thumbs up bud.

  21. Bleh, I’ll watch Spongebob with the kid and save the forty bux.

  22. After watching “Dunkirk” at the local cinema, I went home and purchased the 1958 version of “Dunkirk” for a comparison. The new one is in full color and beautifully filmed, but the old black and white one actually looks more authentic, especially on the evacuation beaches. The 1958 one tells how the evacuation came about, with maps and scenes of General Vicount Gort making the decision to withdraw to the Dunkirk beaches and Vice-Admiral Ramsey insisting that the Navy send all available destroyers to rescue the British, French and Belgian troops before the Germans bagged the lot. Although I enjoyed the new version of Dunkirk, I highly recommend the older film for anyone interested in the subject.

  23. Hitler stopped the Panzers and let Goring have a try in an effort to put a sop to the British, believing that they would consider him a “good guy” and maybe form an alliance with him, which he thought was natural.

    His first REAL strategic mistake.
    Compassion is ALWAYS construed as weakness by one’s enemies.

    izlamo delenda est …

  24. Tim: I don’t think many people would consider Hitler and compassion in any context. There are several popular versions of why the Germans didn’t finish the job on the BEF and the French and Belgian troops at Dunkirk. The one that most people believe is how Goring convinced Hitler to let his Luftwaffe finish the job of destroying the British army. Another one is that Hitler wanted to save his Panzers for the huge remaining French army that had not yet surrendered. The ground east of Dunkirk was one of canals and flooded fields, and was not very suitable for rapid advances against determined defenders. And, the French and British forces were very determined and courageous at holding off the Germans from entering Dunkirk. Also, the RAF defeated the Luftwaffe in the air battle in the sense that they prevented the Germans from destroying the forces on the ground and most of the many vessels that rescued the troops. When I was in England a few years ago, I spent four days in Dover and toured the underground command post where Admiral Ramsey organized Operation Dynamo, which was the name of the rescue of the forces from the French ports. Those brave men wouldn’t recognize their country.

  25. Marco,
    Can’t argue the point as there exists no proof one way or the other.
    Just my understanding that Hitler considered England (Great Britain) as “Aryan” brothers through their Saxon blood and should unite to oppose Soviet-style socialism, as opposed to National Socialism and English Socialism.
    But the facts are that the Heer dawdled for a number of days and then proceeded to the attack – they may have feared the French, but it is doubtful – at one point they disarmed the French, crushed their weapons under their tank treads, and sent them home – not even bothering to make them POWs – hardly the actions of fearful men.

    Guess we’ll never know for sure.

    izlamo delenda est …

  26. Tim: That’s what makes military history such a endlessly fascinating subject. Even though we know what happened, it’s also what might have happened that makes events like the Dunkirk evacuation so interesting. I’ve seen interviews and read accounts of German generals who couldn’t believe that they were not ordered to destroy the British forces trapped on the Dunkirk beaches. Several good accounts attribute the orders to hold the advance to the German generals in command of the two Army Groups on the ground. The French lost more than 18,000 men defending Dunkirk, and the British lost around 3.500 killed, while the Germans had nearly 20,000 dead. General Gort was the real savior of the BEF, because he organized the withdrawal and defense of Dunkirk. I highly recommend Walter Lord’s “The Miracle of Dunkirk” as a very readable history of this epic deliverance.

  27. DUNKIRK F**** SUCKED! is right. I was soooo disappointed – especially after seeing it with my sons and the goddamn cost of the tickets. I should have known to wait for the small screen.

    Have the British forgot how to make movies or did they just quit trying?
    *** Seven planes in the skies over the most significant piece of beach on the planet in 1940?
    *** Borrowed Spanish 109s and 111s that were the same crap available for the Battle of Britain movie in 1970? Ever heard of CGI? Shitty “Flyboys” did better with WWI planes and action.
    *** Borrowed the crappy ‘minesweeper’ from U-571.
    *** SPOILER – I guess the poor kid who had his brains bashed in by a coward is just another casualty, oh well.
    *** 300,000 troops in a day? It took over a week from all over the Dunkirk area – over 800 ships. CGI again, hear of it?
    *** Saving Private Ryan is 20 years old and these bozos haven’t learned anything about making a story visually believable let alone impressive.

    I did like the way they tried to make the story personal for a variety of individuals rather than the “all star cast” overview stuff like Tora, Tora, Tora, and Midway. Could have been soooo much better I weep for the possibilities.

    Puff piece for young British actors to say they are super patriotic. How did Branagh get roped into this?

  28. Thought it was an exciting flick. When the 20 mm cannons of an ME 109 raked a Spitfire, a lady sitting a couple of seat from me all but launched out of her seat. Sound was excellent. Yes, could have used some better character development (wan’t Saving Private Ryan in that regard), but so be it. If you want to get a feel for what happened in one of the major events of WWII, it is worth the tickets. B+.

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