Dunkirk

Aug. 6th, 2017 05:47 pm
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
I saw Dunkirk today. I really wanted to like it, but I'm afraid I didn't.

It was very much the wrong movie for me. I prefer character-driven stories; Dunkirk is more a sort of immersive you-are-there experience, without character development. I'm not good at facial recognition; there were a whole bunch of young brown-haired white guys in uniform, and I can only take it on faith that the two guys at the end of the movie were the same two guys we saw near the beginning. I have trouble deciphering speech if there's a lot of background noise; the dialogue was buried under a v.v. loud score and sound effects. I get motion sickness easily; there was a lot of shaky-cam and twisting tumbling aerial shots, and I still feel a bit woozy.

There were some omissions that bothered me, such as the men who stayed behind and defended the perimeter barely getting a mention, or the way the telescoping timelines made it seem like the evacuation was accomplished in one go. (Surely it's much more dramatic that, after the first harrowing trip, all those little boats had to go back and do it again?) And the movie didn't tell me anything about Dunkirk that I didn't already know. In that, it felt aimed at American audiences, to most of whom this story was probably new. It also felt Hollywood-y, with the massive budget and the big explosions and the way all the recognizable characters got away unharmed except for the one Tragically Doomed Innocent Boy. Yet for a Hollywood movie costing $100 million to make, it was oddly skimping in some ways. "There are 400,000 men on this beach," proclaimed Kenneth Branagh, and yet when we saw the beach it was mostly empty. There can't have been more than a couple of hundred extras there. Admittedly it would be difficult and expensive to fill the beach with 400,000 men, but they could've tried, or alternatively skipped all those wide shots and stayed in close to make things look crowded.

That's a nitpick, I guess. More importantly, the result of all the things I've mentioned was that I felt detached, never really emotionally engaged, and I was actually bored a considerable part of the time. It probably didn't help that I started off in a bad mood due to Fandango telling me the wrong showtime and my having to wait ages, or that the loudness--I could literally feel the vibration in my chest bones in some scenes--and the visual complexity and intensity overwhelmed me and made me shut down quite a bit. If you're not me, your experience of the movie may be very different.
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