So what did you think of the movie?
Well usually I am skeptical of war movies, but I always seem to thoroughly enjoy the setting, plot and characters in the film. In this film, there really aren't clear villains or heroes for many of the characters. The Germans are kind of this ever present, but never seen enemy. I think that showing the Nazi soldiers fighting for Dunkirk would have given more historical perspective as this would have been seen as a clear victory for them (for the moment) while a disaster for the British. Its the defining moment of when the British really had to dig deep and persevere through the German bombing of London and aerial assault to come in 1940.
How did the action flow in the movie?
I think the director captures well the chaos of the scene where the soldiers are gathered on the beach to depart after being surrounded by the German army on all sides while the British Navy struggles to get enough boats to save the stranded men. Another nice plot split is showing the British pilots trying valiantly to defend the evacuation from the continual bombing by German Air Force.
At this point in the beginning of Operation Dynamo (evacuation of Dunkirk), Britain thinks it will only be able to evacuate 45,000 of the 400,000 British/French troops. Only a few pilots are able to fight off the German dive bombers bombing the easy targets on the beaches of Dunkirk. There are two main pilots trying to fend off the German attack on the fleeing boats.
In reality in 1940, Hitler makes a fatal mistake of withholding the army from decimating the beaches so that the German Air Force can pick off the British and French Armies with little cost as the Air Force was difficult to stop. Unfortunately, the cockiness of Goering lead to the escape of 330,000 of the 400,000 troops. Germany would have likely lost the war anyway facing the US and USSR simulataneously, but the war could have lasted many years longer and the Germans were also working on the nuclear bomb at the same time as the Americans. This could have led to dropping the first atomic bombs on Germany and maybe even Japan so millions more could have been vaporized for not this mistake in this German victory.
Well, the pilots are the good guys fighting the Germans in the sky. The director never shows the vantage point of the German pilots, which I think could have strengthened this side of the story. But you got to love the British pilot Harrier played by Tom Hardy fighting to the very end to minimize casualties.
The other side of the plot of the soldiers on the beach is very murky as they kind of fight to board any type of boat by any means necessary. So really not necessarily good or bad. There are many choices made to save yourself, abandon ship and to save a possible fellow soldier. I think this is particularly strong point although there is not necessarily a moral on this side.
A third part is a boat owner coopted into trying to save the stranded soldiers being attacked by the dive bombers.
Would there be any improvements to the film?
I'm not sure about the soldiers on the ground plot as again there is no exact clear story, which makes sense historically but not maybe as a movie with a clear conscious to it. Also, another problem may be the crash landings into the sea. The sound effects sounded very metallic, but I'm not sure the sound would be exactly nice this. The rest of the sounds are very historical correct. Costumes are spot on as well and the flight scenes were accurate as well. I think the aerial battles were not as good as in the movie Red Tails about black airmen.
Have you done any WWII art?
Actually, yes. I did one about the future right after the war as the US and USSR entered the nuclear weapons Cold War testing. Of course, the US started with the Fat Boy, but the USSR went on to create the largest single nuclear bomb called the Tsar Bomba, which was 50 megatons -- almost 3 times the largest US bomb. Right after this, both countries developed ICBMs with multiple warheads, making single bombs dropped from bombers obsolete.