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Archive for July, 2017

It’s coming up on 11:00 pm on the evening of July 24, 2017. Just back home from seeing Christopher Nolan’s latest film “Dunkirk”. The film is based on the actual events of the spring of 1940 when something like 400k British troops were trapped and surrounded by German troops in northern France, and in particular at Dunkirk. I say “based on…” because as happens with all historical films, there are a few liberties taken in the transfer of actual events to film. But not as many as one might think. Judging from the research I did prior to watching “Dunkirk” (including reading and watching many reviews in recent days) I would say it is a highly accurate rendering of what happened some 77 years ago.

So what do I think of “Dunkirk”? All I can say is Wow! It is such an absolutely stunning, emotional, astonishing film. It has been a long time since I have experienced a movie like that. Yes, I did say “experienced”. It’s not a movie that you watch, you experience it. From its opening scenes when soldiers are running through the streets of Dunkirk as gunfire rains down upon them to the final scenes when we see men sitting on trains rolling through the English countryside while one of the soldiers delivers Winston Churchill’s classic “We shall never surrender” speech, “Dunkirk” isn’t really a film in the true sense of the word. You do indeed experience it. It is really an assault on the senses that packs a solid punch and never lets go from beginning to end. As one would expect from a World War 2 movie, it is very disturbing and horrifying in places (I would definitely NOT recommend the film for young children or for those who are frightened by graphic images), but on the whole it is a masterpiece. We all know that World War 2 has inspired thousands of movies through the years. And I will wager that if you took a poll asking what is the finest WW2 film ever made, many people will say that “Saving Private Ryan” is their choice. Certainly “SPR” is one of the most realistic of all WW2 films, especially that first half hour or so when D Day is gruesomely re-enacted in incredible realism that I understand moved many veterans who saw the film to tears and other poignant emotional reactions (and in particular caused those reactions in many who saw “SPR” and who really fought that day on the beaches of Normandy). But having now seen it, I think “Dunkirk” is in that same league, and I think it soon will become a classic. In fact, I came across a story from Calgary about a 97 year old veteran who really was at Dunkirk back then and his reaction to the film No doubt there are others around the world with similar feelings.

In closing,”Dunkirk” has had many positive reviews in the media and I agree 100%. Such was the power of this film that as the closing credits ran in the theatre, most of the audience just sat there stunned and moved by what we had just seen over the past two hours or so (I think the actual running time is about 1 hour and 46 minutes). In addition to the above reaction, I was moved to the point that when I left the theatre, instead of walking directly back home from Jackson Square (the major retail and entertainment complex in downtown Hamilton where I watched “Dunkirk”), I made a slight detour to the Cenotaph at Gore Park and spent a few minutes with my head bowed in silent prayer and remembrance in tribute to those brave soldiers from Dunkirk. To those who were indeed evacuated back to England, but especially to those who didn’t make it. In short as I said earlier, “Dunkirk” is a masterpiece. Highly recommended. Thanks for reading this blog entry – stay tuned for my next article, coming soon to a computer near you. Until next time!

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