New Film on Dunkirk


Christopher Nolan is known for his meticulous attention to detail. Even going as far as using real naval destroyers instead of CGI in his upcoming film, Dunkirk.


However it looks like there was one small thing he overlooked in the beautiful first teaser for the World War II epic.

Did you spot it? It happens during the final shot of the teaser. There’s one extra that is behaving a little too happy go lucky for a soldier in the midst of one of the most famous battles in World War II.


Must be a Relative of “Carl”

I’ve played it many times and can’t see why his expression or conduct is out of place. Even if one sees him as happy go lucky, why wouldn’t that be consistent with being shell shocked or some other consequence of the grinding lead up to or grinding experience at Dunkirk waiting for evacuation?

Anyway, the Dunkirk evacuation was just that: an evacuation, not a battle. On the Allied side, it ranks more with Greece and Crete (but, alas, not the Philippines or Singapore or various parts south) in extracting by sea the greatest number of troops, generally without much more than they carried on their backs, to fight another day after another glorious defeat by the Germans.

Dunkirk was the result of a reasonable chance of combined French and British arms defeating or at least holding the Germans in continental Europe. Greece, Crete, the Philippines and Singapore were just occasions where, for various reasons which boil down to poor judgment by the British Commonwealth and Americans supreme commanders and sometimes advice from their incompetent military commanders suffering terminal doses of hubris (notably MacArthur), there was little or no chance of resisting the enemy, even without the benefit of hindsight.

I sort of agree. Insanity and the expressions of it would be rather congruent with war in general, and in this instance in particular. There of course is always fear and stress associated with battle but the shocking speed of the German advance and the corresponding sleep deprivation and complete befuddlement of the general mass of the Allied troops might have produced characters that were not “all there” or even perhaps welcoming of death by that point…

After all, perhaps much like Private Pyle, this man was “in a world of shït!”

Everyone had someone sort of like this in basic training, if not to Pyle’s murderous and suicidal extent…

About 10% of casualties admitted to regimental aid posts at Dunkirk were combat stress. The percentage might have been higher as large numbers of servicemen were admitted to psychiatric hospitals on return to Britain, p.244,

So there’s a good chance that about 1 in every 10 of the men in the film clip were suffering some degree of combat stress, which could manifest itself as seemingly inappropriate behaviour. Although I’m buggered if I know what’s appropriate after you’ve been defeated; cornered; bombed and, don’t know if you’ll be evacuated or become a POW, if you survive.

And different people react in different ways at the time, and years later.

There is a line in a song down here which is one of the anthems for the Vietnam diggers [I was only 19] about the sound of a television station’s helicopter being disturbing years later:

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?

When that song was released in the early 1980s, a mate of mine who had served in Vietnam as a grunt told me he loved the sound of helicopters, because it meant at worst they were getting fire support; or, better, supplies; or, best; getting lifted out.

Ha! I never would have noticed had someone not pointed it out.


Where are the French? The stand like the “Spartan 300” that made it all possible?

Merged into existing thread and retitled…

I’m sure that something similar to Fury will happen: the first half will be moderately realistic, then some turn of events will happen that will be unhistorical as hell.

Thank you.

Apparently the film is getting rave reviews overall and is in Oscar contention already. I haven’t seen it yet so will refrain from commentary until seen…

I plan to see it, and just hoping that it isn’t an extravagance of effects with just a dash of history.

I saw it. There really seems to be rather little CGI and somewhat sticks to the story from a very British point of view. One thing Nolan did is seems is he deliberately avoided the battles around Dunkirk and Lille and there are only three or so brief scenes showing the French, and only one of them holding the outskirts of the town itself…

Since I have never read that much about this, I will not comment on the film’s historical accuracy. However, for purely entertainment value I would say it is worth your money. I saw it in a theater in Hagerstown, Md. a few days ago. The cinematography is spectacular. But as someone mentioned, done more like a documentary and at times jumps from scene to scene quite rapidly. Not your “Saving Private Ryan” (my favorite) type movie with a definite story line and plot, but I think that the acting in Dunkirk is very good. I especially liked the air combat scenes. I have heard pro and con from the experts on the battle.

Agreed on the cinematography, the movie looks stunning. As far as accuracy, the film was panned by a French newspaper for glossing over their resistance around the town that was very determined. There was also a series of running battles around the Dunkirk pocket with heavy casualties on both sides. The infamous “Panzer Halt Order” in mentioned, but the tanks were halted for three days and were again attacking for what would have been the majority of the film. I like the action and the minimalist dialogue. But I think the scale of the thing seemed a bit sterile as there were about 338,000 that got out.

Saw it a couple of days ago.


Agree also.

It’s not a patch on ‘Saving Private Ryan’ because, as you correctly say, that film has a definite story line and plot which follows the characters through from the beach landing to the final scene. The problem with, and deficiency in, Dunkirk is that it attempts through various devices to cover the evacuation of more than 300,000 soldiers and the associated small boat efforts and air battles from the British viewpoint by a series of unconnected vignettes focusing on a few undeveloped and unrepresentative characters. It’s a failure as a ‘based on fact’ fiction and as a documentary, and on any other basis apart from some impressive scenes of air and naval conflict.

I found it particularly offensive in starting the film and progressing it with a couple of soldiers, one of whom turns out to be French, who were effectively deserters trying to escape through the orderly troops lined up on the beach waiting for evacuation. Much the same with the possibly shell shocked or just cowardly 2nd Lt picked up by the small boat who repays his rescuers by killing one of them. Might have happened, but hardly representative of the vast majority of troops.

As a film which has anything to contribute to any understanding of Dunkirk, it’s at best a great spectacle and at worst a great insult to the vast majority of troops who evacuated in good order under very bad conditions, but no worse than millions of other soldiers endured in countless smaller groups in many wars and in even larger groups during WWII under even worse conditions, such as Stalingrad and Battle of the Bulge.

Overall, it’s just a nice piece of cinematic entertainment with lots of spectacles and a suitably noisy soundtrack without which it would have considerably less impact.

I don’t understand why it’s being hailed as the greatest film since ‘Saving Private Ryan’ or any other film, because it lacks plot, character development, character engagement, and just about everything else that a great film has.

Still, it’s certainly worth watching for entertainment.

Just don’t confuse it with anything that has much to do with the reality of the 300,000 plus troops who weren’t the deserters upon whom the bulk of the film focuses for flimsy dramatic effect as they try to steal aboard a ship with a hijacked casualty or cower in a grounded boat, both of which experiences were on the basis of the film that of about a dozen or so of the 300,000 plus troops on the beach.

The point is made in the first scene that the French were defending a line through which the British were able to escape to the beach.

The absence of detail about the French fighting in what by then was the British rear is no more unreasonable than the absence of detail about the conduct of the British troops who weren’t the majority of deserters and shell-shocked or cowardly troops upon whom the film focuses for characters.

If I had a relative who’d been evacuated at Dunkirk, I’d be incensed by a film which focuses upon deserters for the story line. As indeed I am dismayed by that approach when I have no family or any other connection with Dunkirk.

Really? :wink: :smiley:

I thought the only attacks were from the Stukas. Then again, I’m just basing that on this historically accurate film. :wink: :smiley:

And just on the Stuka point, early on in the film there is a scene of the effect of a creeping bomb pattern hitting the troops on the ground. That creeping pattern is what you’d get from a medium to heavy bomber dropping multiple bombs, not Stukas.

And now, ladies and gentlemen (cue drum roll) for the idiotic politically correct contingent’s contribution to history.

"USA Today’s Brian Truitt opined that “the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of colour may rub some the wrong way.”

Truitt has, understandably, been held up to no small amount of ridicule. It is a little difficult to shoehorn women and ethnic minorities into a story which, put simply, featured few. Dunkirk is, after all, very much based on the battle – on air, land, and sea. There is no back story, no emotion-laden scenes of loved-ones left behind. There is no examination of the cultural mix of Britain at the time.

Truitt’s utterance is little short of odd, akin to complaining there is a lack of Afro-Caribbeans in Alfred The Great, or commenting that it would have been better if a few women had made it out of Stalag Luft III in The Great Escape. If he wants women in the context of deep historical inaccuracy, he should perhaps tune into Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC."

It was inevitable that the following complaint would be made from predictable, and invariably ill-informed, quarters.

But Truitt is not alone in expressing dissent at Dunkirk’s modus operandi. Marie Claire critic Mehera Bonner declared that the film just screams ‘men-only’, claiming the only reason male critics liked it was because it allowed them to feel manly.

“To me, Dunkirk felt like an excuse for men to celebrate maleness,” she wrote, “which apparently they don’t get to do enough. Fine, great, go forth, but if Nolan’s entire purpose is breaking the established war movie mould and doing something different, why not make a movie about women in World War II?”

Gee, no films about women in WWII? I must have imagined Mrs Miniver; Carve Her Name with Pride; Millions Like Us; Battalion; Night Witches in the Sky; not to mention the multi-episode TV show Tenko.

The likes of Ms Bonner can always be relied upon to demonstrate their ignorance when putting forward their automatic complaints about how badly they are oppressed / ignored / downtrodden. They’d be more persuasive if they had facts rather mere outrage on their side.

I have not seen the movie and I am curious about the premise. How many countries celebrate a military defeat? There was at least one and maybe two battles in the Pacific in which the United States Navy was malled. We don’t celebrate that nor do we celebrate Pearl Harbor. We remember Pearl Harbor, however, we do not celebrate it. The British were outclassed in almost every aspect of warfare at Dunkirk.