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Author Topic: Dunkirk (2017) - Christopher Nolan  (Read 2066 times)
Novecento
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« on: May 06, 2017, 07:12:23 AM »

Really looking forward to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7O7BtBnsG4

I'm going to try to find somewhere showing the 70mm release.

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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2017, 07:42:24 AM »

I will be seeing that as well. 

I saw Hateful Eight on roadshow/70mm full version, was worth it.

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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2017, 10:20:44 AM »

I'll see this opening weekend at the same theater in Boston I saw hateful 8 in 70mm. Love that Nolan is switching up genres

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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2017, 07:55:57 PM »

I'm expecting the AFI Silver near me to show it. That's where I saw The Hateful Eight roadshow version too. I'm in no doubt that a hefty chunk of my enjoyment came simply from the 70mm experience itself.

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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2017, 09:42:37 AM »

Joe Wright's Atonement wasn't enough, we've got to go through it all again? Fuck!

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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2017, 06:29:55 PM »

Joe Wright's Atonement wasn't enough, we've got to go through it all again? Fuck!

THAT bugs you - then don't see it !!!

What bugs me is WW2 stuff where the actor portraying Adolf looks nothing like him ?  Apparently they feel any actor with a stupid little mustache would look just like Hitler.  In these days of plastic masks, noses, make-up, etc. - such an oversight. 

I think the Hitler in "Downfall" was pretty good.

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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2017, 10:00:30 PM »

Joe Wright's Atonement wasn't enough, we've got to go through it all again? Fuck!

That famous 5 minute tracking shot is all I've ever seen of "Atonement". What's the rest of it like?

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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2017, 12:30:31 PM »

https://mobile.twitter.com/antovolk/status/886626392842129409/photo/1

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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2017, 07:46:02 PM »

Op-ed in Friday's Wall Street Journal bashing the movie's omission of Churchill

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-dumbing-down-of-dunkirk-1500592065

The Dumbing Down of ‘Dunkirk’


The Wall Street Journal
By Dorothy Rabinowitz



On May 28, 1940, Winston Churchill held a meeting of his government’s ministers. “I described the course of events and showed them plainly where we were, and all that was in the balance,” Churchill later wrote. “Then I said quite casually . . .: ‘Of course, whatever happens at Dunkirk, we shall fight on.’ . . . I was sure that every Minister was ready to be killed quite soon, and have all his family and possessions destroyed, rather than give in. . . . There was a white glow, overpowering, sublime, which ran through our island from end to end.”

“Dunkirk,” opening in theaters Friday, is noteworthy in many respects. Not least for its creator’s decision—on the interesting ground that it would make things clearer for audiences—to avoid any appearance of Churchill. Of, that is, the newly appointed prime minister central to this story: the voice of that embattled Britain whose citizens, answering their government’s call, set out to rescue its army, stranded on the beaches of northern France in May of 1940.

Director Christopher Nolan, whose credits include “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” has said he wanted to avoid making a film “not relevant to today’s audiences” and that he didn’t want to get them bogged down in “politics.”

This says more than Mr. Nolan intended about his estimate of today’s moviegoers—whose capacities, he fears, would not be equal to a film involving images of a historic figure. There were other worries. Mr. Nolan didn’t want to make a film that could be seen as old-fashioned, he informed his interviewer. It appears further that the director wanted to avoid taxing today’s film audiences with any specifics about the foe that had the British Expeditionary Force fighting for its life on those beaches.

“We don’t have generals in rooms pushing things around on maps,” Mr. Nolan explained. “We don’t see Churchill. We barely glimpse the enemy.” All true. Though there are quite a number of enemy planes, bombers smashing the troops on the beach. The bare glimpse Mr. Nolan mentions is of the insignia identifying the nation to which those planes belong. Who could it be?

On the other hand, the markings on the British fighters engaging the enemy in dogfights loom large and clear. As do the reasons for all of the above. For, as Mr. Nolan has told us, he considers Dunkirk “a universal story . . . about communal heroism.” Which explains why this is—despite its impressive cinematography, its moving portrait of suffering troops and their rescuers—a Dunkirk flattened out, disconnected from the spirit of its time, from any sense even of the particular mighty enemy with which England was at war.

When an event in history has become, in the mind of a writer, “universal” it’s a tip-off—the warning bell that we’re about to lose most of the important facts of that history, and that the story-telling will be a special kind—a sort that obscures all specifics that run counter to the noble vision of the universalist.

No wonder those German Stukas and Heinkels bombarding the British can barely be identified as such. Then there is Mr. Nolan’s avoidance of Churchill lest audiences get bogged down in “politics”—a strange term for Churchill’s concerns during those dark days of May 1940. One so much less attractive, in its hint of the ignoble and the corrupt, than “communal” and “universal”—words throbbing with goodness. Nothing old-fashioned about them either, especially “universal”—a model of socio-babble for all occasions.

The certainty of the Nazis’ threat is what preoccupied Churchill. His testament to the sterling attitude of his ministers, quoted above, kindly omits mention of the protracted arguments from those in his war cabinet who pressed for some respectable accommodation with Hitler, for some effort at least to open talks.

There was, for Churchill, no acceptable accommodation with Hitler. He knew the disastrous impact on British morale of any word of talks or arrangements with the Nazis. They would instead hear from their new prime minister only the iron determination to defeat the enemy, the confidence that it would be done—which had not a little to do with the strengthened spirit of the British public. They had been asked to fight for victory at all costs, and most knew why they must—among them those pilots of small boats braving German fire to rescue the army.

The film’s aim, as its director says, is to tell a universal story of individuals struggling for survival. A struggle for survival under terrifying assault is exactly what we see through most of the action. Left out of this saga is any other sense of the importance of Operation Dynamo, the unexpectedly successful rescue of 338,000 soldiers who could, instead of being marched off to captivity by that barely visible enemy—call it Nation X—return to an England desperate for manpower.

Continuing the fight was, to this England facing invasion, everything. To leave out of this story, in addition to Churchill, any sense of England’s peril or the might of its enemy is to drain much of the life out of history.

All this falls into the category of facts, irrelevant history, that Mr. Nolan would consider wrong for today’s audiences. To the very end no image of Churchill defiles the sanctity of this film’s safe space. One of the final scenes does present an exhausted evacuee returned from Dunkirk, reading aloud to himself from a newspaper of Churchill’s most famous address, of June 4, 1940. The “We shall never surrender” speech is spoken by a young soldier, making it all reassuringly relevant—no trace of the man himself.

It’s possible of course that a director less apprehensive about appearing old-fashioned might have risked an actual clip of the prime minister without undue harm to the audience.

In the bleak days of 1940, Churchill told his cabinet: “If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each of us lies choking on his own blood on the ground.” If Batman ever said anything remotely as interesting, he’d have our devoted attention.
--

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.



« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 03:12:59 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2017, 03:27:23 PM »

And here is a movie review from WSJ:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/dunkirk-review-finding-humanity-in-calamity-1500487503


‘Dunkirk’ Review: Finding Humanity in Calamity
Joe Morgenstern




In “Dunkirk,” an astonishing evocation of a crucial event during the first year of World War II, Christopher Nolan has created something new in the annals of war films—an intimate epic. The scale is immense, and all the more so in the IMAX format that shows the action to best advantage. The density of detail is breathtaking; it’s as if the camera can barely keep up with what’s happening inside and outside the frame. Yet the central concern is steadfastly human. Whether we’re watching a huge Allied army encircled by Nazi forces on a beach in France or tracking the progress of their would-be rescuers, the drama turns on individuals and their feelings—of terror, excruciating vulnerability and fragile hope that they will make it back home, only 26 miles across the English Channel.

What the film excludes is historical context. It is not, and wasn’t meant to be, an explanation of the circumstances that led, in the spring of 1940, to the entrapment of some 400,000 British, French, Belgian and Canadian troops, including what Prime Minister Winston Churchill called “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army.” Instead, “Dunkirk,” which Mr. Nolan directed from his own screenplay, is a fictionalized, impressionistic account of a calamity that culminated in a near-miracle, although many lives were lost in the process—the rescue of 338,000 of those soldiers by shallow-draft naval vessels plus a large civilian flotilla of fishing boats and yachts.

With sparse dialogue, a minimum of digital simulations and an emphasis on spectacular images, the production follows, among others, a young British enlisted man, Fionn Whitehead’s Tommy, from the moment he emerges from the streets of Dunkirk to join vast throngs of other men, most of them young and all of them frightened, on the sands of what was formerly a vacation resort. They have no more idea than he does what’s in store for them. All they know is that they’re totally vulnerable to German tanks and planes, and unlikely to survive. (The cast includes Harry Styles, of One Direction, making his acting debut.)

“Dunkirk” is hardly the first film to depict the mad chaos of modern war. The champion in that category remains “Apocalypse Now,” with “Black Hawk Down” and “Saving Private Ryan” as strong contenders. Still, Mr. Nolan has spoken of his own list of influences being topped by “The Wages of Fear,” Henri-Georges Clouzot’s peerless thriller, made in 1953, about desperate men in South America driving nitroglycerin-laden trucks over primitive roads. What’s the common denominator? Existential terror, for sure, an awareness that one’s life may be snuffed out at any moment, but also classic suspense.

A superlative thriller in its own right, “Dunkirk” wields its power in equal measure through the general (in one memorable overhead shot, hundreds of troops standing defenseless on a breakwater look up to the sky as Nazi bombers scream in for the kill) and the particular (countless vignettes of soldiers in extreme peril and anguishing suspense). Who will live and who will die as bullets fly, bombs drop, water rises in the hull of a sinking ship? Those are familiar questions in war films. The difference here is that we care intensely even though no one on screen has been characterized through familiar speeches about hopes for the future or dreams of girls back home. Long dialogue-free stretches of “Dunkirk” could qualify as silent film if—a big if—it weren’t for the shattering sounds of war, and for Hans Zimmer’s brilliantly piercing, keening score, which often merges with those sounds of war. It’s the images that tell the essence of the story, and you should try to see the film in the largest format possible, either IMAX or a 70mm print. (The production was designed by Nathan Crowley and photographed by Hoyte Van Hoytema. )

Until now Mr. Nolan’s stories—in “Memento,” his Batman trilogy, “Inception” and “Interstellar”—have been notable for their intricacy (or, to my taste on occasion, notorious for their opacity). This time he has dared to keep things simple, except for manipulations of the timeline that heighten narrative urgency without diminishing structural clarity. The structure is tripartite, with more or less equal attention given to tumultuous events on and around the beach and breakwater ( Kenneth Branagh has a small but significant role as a naval commander); in the air, where RAF Spitfire fighters woefully short on fuel struggle to protect the soldiers; and on the Channel, where the little boats of the civilian flotilla make their painfully slow way from Dover to Dunkirk.

The aerial sequences, featuring Tom Hardy as one of the Spitfire pilots, are a marvel. Once again, the form could hardly be more familiar. Dogfights—enhanced by hand-tinted muzzle flashes and engine fires—were an impressive part of the 1927 “Wings,” which won the first best-film Oscar, and the first one for special effects. Here, though, the use of IMAX cameras is transformative. By turns the screen is filled by pilots’ faces, Kabuki-like behind goggles and oxygen masks, and skies so capacious that we understand, as never before, the near-impossibility of keeping guns trained on the tiny gyrating dots of enemy fighters.

Simplicity also reigns at sea. Instead of spending time on various boats in the flotilla, as an affecting 1958 feature about Dunkirk did, Mr. Nolan’s film, surprisingly short (especially for him) at 106 minutes, focuses on a single 40-foot wooden yacht, the Moonstone, and its crew of three: the owner, Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance); his son, Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney); and George ( Barry Keoghan ), Peter’s 17-year-old friend. (They’re joined during the Channel crossing by Cillian Murphy as an unnamed survivor of a torpedoed ship.) It’s part of the film’s distinction that the taciturn Mr. Dawson is played by one of the world’s pre-eminent actors, but Mr. Rylance’s gifts aren’t wasted. When young George asks the yacht owner where they’re going, Mr. Dawson replies briskly, “Into war, George.” With three words he conveys the audacity of the voyage.

-----

Write to Joe Morgenstern at joe.morgenstern@wsj.com

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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2017, 03:32:54 PM »

And one more WSJ article, this one from today: Dunkirk triumphed at the box office this weekend

https://www.wsj.com/articles/world-war-ii-battle-film-dunkirk-claims-triumphs-at-box-office-1500831702
World War II Battle Film ‘Dunkirk’ Triumphs at Box Office

By Ben Fritz


Executives at Time Warner Inc.’s TWX 0.05% Warner Bros. breathed perhaps the biggest sigh heard in Hollywood this summer as a costly movie about a World War II battle little known outside Western Europe opened successfully.

“Dunkirk,” writer-director Christopher Nolan’s retelling of a dramatic escape by British troops from advancing Nazi forces in 1940, collected an estimated $50.5 million on its first weekend in theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

The comedy “Girls Trip” also had a healthy start, with $30.4 million.

But the science-fiction film “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” the most expensive independent movie ever made, flopped, debuting to just $17 million.

Though “Dunkirk’s” opening wasn’t massive, it beat some of this summer’s most-hyped sequels and reboots, including “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “Alien: Covenant” and “The Mummy.”

It was even bigger than Mr. Nolan’s last movie, 2014’s “Interstellar,” which had a major star in Matthew McConaughey and opened to $47.5 million. “Dunkirk” has no similarly popular stars and Warner, at Mr. Nolan’s request, didn’t highlight in advertising that music star Harry Styles, from the band One Direction, plays a supporting role.

The film’s healthy start demonstrates the growing power of good reviews, particularly as scores from review aggregation websites like Rotten Tomatoes spread on social media. “Dunkirk,” which cost close to $100 million to make, received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Mr. Nolan is one of the handful of directors in Hollywood who is a popular brand himself, drawing fan attention just as franchises like Marvel and “Fast & Furious” do.

“We were able to position the movie as an epic action thriller that connected with audiences because of him,” said Warner’s president of domestic distribution, Jeff Goldstein.

Mr. Nolan shot about three-quarters of the movie using large-format cameras from IMAX Corp. and its theaters accounted for 23% of the domestic opening weekend, despite representing 11% of the total locations playing it.

“Dunkirk” also had a strong start overseas, where it grossed a total of $55.4 million in 46 markets. For obvious reasons it performed best in the United Kingdom, where its $12.4 million opening was bigger than even Mr. Nolan’s “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which opened to $9 million there and $62.8 million in the U.S. in 2010.

“Dunkirk” also performed particularly well in South Korea, opening to $10.3 million. “Dunkirk” has yet to debut in a few major markets, including China, where it is set to open Sept. 1.

The well-reviewed “Girls Trip” had the biggest opening for any comedy this year, relieving Hollywood anxiety that a recent string of flops indicated audiences were losing interest in going to theaters to laugh.

With an average audience grade of A+ according to market research firm CinemaScore, compared with an A- for “Dunkirk,” the raunchy R-rated “Girls Trip” should benefit from excellent word-of-mouth in the coming weeks. According to exit polls, 79% of the audience for the comedy, which stars four women, was female.

With a budget of $180 million, “Valerian” represented a big bet by France’s EuropaCorp that it could compete with the event movies coming out of Hollywood this summer. Based on a comic book series popular in France but not elsewhere, it failed to find a sizable audience in the U.S., where it was released by independent studio STX Films.

EuropaCorp , ECP -3.02% founded by “Valerian” director Luc Besson, sold much of the international rights to the film to limit its financial exposure. The U.S. represented the riskiest portions of its global release.

It has yet to open in most foreign markets, including France, where expectations are particularly high.

Write to Ben Fritz at ben.fritz@wsj.com

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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2017, 04:20:26 PM »

DRINKANDDESTROY did you go see this yet?

If not why all the hype?

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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2017, 07:46:52 AM »

I saw it on Friday in 70mm (not IMAX 70mm).

I'm not sure I've ever seen a film directed by Christopher Nolan before so my comments have little comparative context in that regard:

- the 70mm experience was great (the IMAX 70mm one must be even better - personally I wouldn't watch any version but those two)
- the photography is absolutely stunning
- it has a very lean script and as such is reliant on the visual experience (as all good films should be)
- it is very restrained for a war film with a certain elegance at points (in spite of also being very harrowing at points)

Contrary to the first WSJ review posted, I liked the fact that the film did not choose to comment directly on the actual military/political context and bring Churchill in beyond a couple of mentions of his name. However, the only thing I did find jarring even in the trailer was another voice of a young person (not pretending to be an old man like Churchill - there is valid context for this provided in the film) saying those famous "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the..... We shall never surrender" lines. Nolan should have had the actual recording of Churchill's voice chime in at the very end of the film for a far more poignant finish than the one we were given. That would have been enough without making any statement beyond one about the universal resilience of the human spirit when its back is truly up against the wall.

While Dunkirk never really gave me what I'd call a "Sergio Leone experience", which I reserve for exceptional films or exceptional moments in films that make me really feel like I have just experienced a true piece of art in front of my eyes, Dunkirk was nonetheless a very well crafted spectacle that certainly merits watching (I'm even tempting to seek out a 70mm IMAX showing now).

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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2017, 08:48:22 AM »

Thanks for the report, Novocento.

Do the visuals/action seem like CGI or are they real?

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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2017, 09:30:56 AM »

All very real and very well crafted.

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