Disappointed by Dunkirk (the Movie) – Spoiler Warning

Last night I went to see ‘Dunkirk’, the movie by Christopher Nolan. I don’t intend to write a full critique (which would be a polar opposite to that of most critics). If you haven’t seen it, then this is a Spoiler Warning.

Dunkirk beach image

Source: Getty Images

The opening scenes were very promising, but after that the film failed to engage me emotionally or otherwise, and I came away feeling disappointed. Here are just a few of the things that detracted from what should have been a much better movie:

A few of the things that grated on me

1. Almost all the actors were clean shaven – no stubble, shadow – nary a hair on their visages.
2. The backdrop of the docks of Dunkirk showed modern container handling cranes.
3. The scenes on the beach, which purportedly contained 400,000 British troops were set with a few hundred extras, at most. Puny.
4. The shots of the Little Ships failed to convey the scale of the fleet of 700 small vessels that were engaged in the evacuation.
5. Kenneth Branagh stands and watches a ship going out to sea from the mole (pier), but behind him is not the town and docks of Dunkirk, but – open sea.
6. The final scene, set in 1940, was in a railway carriage that was patently modern, with double glazed aluminium frames.

Dunkirk Beach evacuation image

Source: Getty Images

The list goes on, but I’m stopping there before I get into script issues. It clearly suffered from lack of budget, sloppy continuity and poor editing. The scale was underwhelming. Just my opinion of course (and that of a few others at the cinema).

When it comes to showing the horrors, confusion and moral ambiguities of war, this film does not belong in the same list as All Quiet on the Western Front, Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter or Platoon, to name the ones that come readily to mind.