The movie Dunkirk, directed by Christopher Nolan, was a movie about the historical evacuation at Dunkirk, which was the biggest evacuation in modern history where about 330,000 troops were evacuated off the beaches of Dunkirk. In the movie, this portrayal of the evacuation was split into three parts: land, sea and air.
Overall, there was not much dialogue in the movie, with the total script being Nolan’s shortest to date. This unusually short script served the purpose of enhancing the suspense with visuals and music rather than script. While this may have helped with increasing suspense throughout the movie, it also made key events extremely confusing. This trade-off between suspense and clarification was extremely detrimental to the overall plot of the movie. There were many events in the movie which ostensibly were meant to be poignant, but I had no clue what was happening.
When one of the three main characters on land died, I was not remotely aware he had until after the movie, when I looked it up to clarify what had really happened in the movie. As well as this, there were many other instances which had me absolutely perplexed. Johns Creek sophomore Colin Glazier said, “I was too confused to feel anything else aside from confusion during the movie. With random planes coming out of nowhere to save the day and random events occurring for seemingly no reason, I was totally and utterly confused throughout the movie.”
Although one would assume that a film that was made at the actual site of this historical evacuation and hired thousands of extras would be against taking the easy way out, that was not the case whatsoever. It seemed like the filmmakers decided that they wanted something to happen, and then would create some unreasonable event that led to its happening. Instead of creating a chain of events that made this event plausible, it just happened in the movie, with the explanation of why and how it happened bordering on ridiculous.
The air part of the film was undoubtedly the least entertaining and most confusing part. Junior Esther Williams said, “I couldn’t tell who was who as the pilots had their faces covered and didn’t really have anything to distinguish themselves, so I was constantly confused.” As ships evacuated, these planes were tasked with protecting them from the German air force sent to finish off the British and French forces. After one of the three planes went down, one of the other planes just disappeared for the majority of the remainder of the movie. At the end, the audience saw a German plane rapidly approach from above, with thousands of soldiers and boats sitting ducks. Out of nowhere, the plane that disappeared reappeared and destroyed the enemy plane. Afterwards, the plane flew around with music playing in the background.
This event has the potential of being a heart-breaking moment in which one pilot sacrifices himself for all the other people, but instead the pilot somehow manages to land on German territory and become prisoner, when he could have either landed in the water or have died like the movie’s music was suggesting was going to happen. The air part was just overall sloppy and a complete mess, failing to capture my attention or feelings.
Although there were many cons about this movie, there were some pros that made up for these cons a little bit. The color scheme and cinematography were beautiful, with the movie also staying true to form in portraying what had happened at the evacuations. The movie was filmed at the actual scene of Dunkirk and used accurate technology such as boats that were utilized in the evacuation and planes that were true to the time period.
Overall, this movie failed to capitalize on the potential poignant moments. Williams said, “[Dunkirk] was a huge disappointment to me. I expected this movie to be filled with raw emotions and capture my every thought, but it ended up being more like a documentary and less like a film.”