Monday, July 31, 2017



one of the more interesting, and indeed challenging, dynamics of parenting more than one child is balanced fairness. this i know to be very much something those that have done this are quite aware of, look you see, but stating that which may be obvious to some works as a reasonable introduction here.

during recent times it came to be that James was invited along by a friend to go and bear witness to the most recent Oscar-baiting entry in the Despicable Me series of films, with this one entitled Despicable Me 3. we had absolutely no problem with this, and so off he went and i believe it was good. William, alas, was quite cross. he is most enthusiastic about the chronicles of the Minions, and so too wished to see this film.

what to do? well, there was little point in taking James to see it again so soon after he first witnessed it. that would be like, say some 30 or so years ago, going to the cinema 6 (or so) times to see Top Gun purely as the Odeon had it on and were charging 99p a ticket. our decision, then, was that my (considerably) better half would take William to see Despicable Me 3 whilst, thanks to a fortuitous quirk in screening times, at the same instance i would take James to see Dunkirk. see, i got to the point of the title of this post eventually.

a spoiler free review of the film? well, i am late as it has been out for a little while, but should you wish to know my opinion then it merely supports much of that which has been spoken. yes, Dunkirk is a superb film. i am not sure such was required but it firmly cements Christopher Nolan, along with PT Anderson, as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. to perfectly present a complex historical event in a way that comes in south of two hours and trusts the audience whilst doing so is a true talent.

the idea of spoilers for an historical film is interesting. yes, it is possible. not everyone, you must bear in mind, knows that which you do. so much of the audience might be unaware of what happened at Dunkirk in 1940. also many "historical" films, in particular those made by Mel Gibson, are so far removed from accepted or recorded historical fact that yes, the plot could be riddled with spoilers.

so is Dunkirk a film which is historically accurate? i cannot say. whereas yes, true, i have a degree in history, i studied at a time when the emphasis and focus was firmly on pre and post political diplomacy. to that end, we did not learn dates and events parrot fashion. my understanding is that most with more knowledge than me - that is specific Dunkirk students and indeed survivors of the event who attended the film's premiere - broadly say yes it is. 

quite, that would indeed be James and i having a quick, cheeky selfie before the movie starts. on the one hand i did feel somewhat misplaced using my phone in a cinema theatre even though the ads hadn't even started, but then on the other my behaviour in such was not so base and crass as others. as in, in the same screening we were in, a lady was sat reading her e-book thing with a very bright backlight right up until the BBFC certificate came on screen.

should you wish to do anything else but watch the movie you have paid a considerable fee to watch, may i respectfully suggest that you don't go to the cinema? i mean, to each their own, freedom, etc, but it does seem like a silly waste of money with all you achieving is annoying others. which, in fairness, is the sort of thing some people live and breathe to do.

a cost has come to the short, taunt run time of the film. whilst there tends to be a general acceptance that Dunkirk is as close as one could get to being historically accurate within the confines of cinema, there are mutterings of the film "not telling" the whole story. to do so in a film of any length would, you would think, be virtually impossible. when anyone tells a tale something always gets left out.

oh, yes, concessions prices at the cinema remain ludicrous. for £3.90 one can get a "film combo". this includes a handful of popcorn, a mouthful of coke, more ice than you could possibly need this side of a nuclear reactor and a very easy to count number of skittles. hey ho.

i am not too sure i wish to analyse or go into detail on the film. that said, it would be amiss of me not to highlight aspects which, to me, made Dunkirk so exceptional. much of it would be in the way the story is told. a lot of this comes from the way in which visuals are not so much allowed to dominate in telling the story, but dictate mood and reaction. echoing, in part, the brilliant opening hour or so of There Will Be Blood by the previously mentioned PT Anderson, dialogue is kept to a minimum. as mentioned earlier, the audience is trusted to draw and understand what they will rather than having a morality or emotion drawn for them or forced upon them.

the disjointed, dislocating nature of the narrative is also an inspired move. whilst dealing with what is ostensibly just a few days, the audience skips back and forth in time across them. you get no warning that this will happen when it does. strangely, indeed superbly, it does this without revealing any key details concerning the eventual fate of the many characters you encounter.

no, that above has nothing to do with the film Dunkirk. my mate Spiros, who i have mentioned in passing here once or twice before, reckons that there are certain things i do which should see me wearing a "classic" late 80s or early 90s Chicago Bulls cap. the above would be the closest that i have found to such, and the price of them says no i am not.

much has been said of Christopher Nolan's directorial genius and his seemingly innate (although i speculate hard work and study too) ability to craft superior films. a lot of this comes to fruition in the form of an inspired cast. surely yes, the headline grabbers have been the well known actors to appear, namely Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh. to this i would add Mark Rylance, who if such is required is "the star of the show" with a compassionate, introverted and extraordinary strong performance. much of the focus, however, falls on the (relatively) unknown cast who carry the burden of the story. they, in particular Fionn Whitehead and Aneurin Barnard, are superb.

to the controversy, then. the decision to cast Harry Styles of One Direction fame in the film. this of course isn't the first time a Christopher Nolan decision was controversial. the backlash against Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight made Star Wars fanboys seem restrained. that was until we all saw the film, were left devastated by an incredible performance and adopted the stance "in Nolan we trust".

so is the introduction of Harry Styles to the world of cinema as inspired and impressive as the Heath Ledger incident? no, but not negative no. in many respects yes. he is not the focus, the film is not about him and he does not get dominating screen time. what he does do, though, is play the part assigned very well indeed. thus, you are not watching a pop star play at being a solider, you are witnessing solid acting. if he were to continue on with a film career i would suggest he has every ability in the world to do so with measured success. well done, lad.

i disgraced myself a bit with the above book. perhaps i would remain silent and no one would know, but the truth shall always out. in order to purchase Dunkirk by Joshua Levine for the wonderful price of £2 i had to at the same time buy a copy of The Sun for 50p. in net terms this made it cheaper than the cheapest price for which it could be purchased, £3.85. so i did it. many of the people i respect in this world, and am so fortunate as to consider friends, are firm advocates of the "Don't Buy The Sun" campaign. i wholeheartedly endorse this and am sorry to have broken it. forgiveness, perhaps will come in the form of the motivation.

much noise is being made about how one "should see Dunkirk on the biggest screen possible". indeed yes, the visuals are sweeping and impressive. and Nolan's love of using the Imax format is well known. i would, however, speculate that this film can be enjoyed, or rather appreciated, as and when the DVD, Blu Ray and "streaming" release all happens.

and what did James, a young lad who as part of school studies is learning of World War 2, make of Dunkirk? with the greatest of respect to motion picture statements such as Despicable Me 3 he now considers Dunkirk to be the greatest film he has seen.

he, as in James, was concerned about how sad i was at parts of the film, in particular some key scenes with Mark Rylance. i explained that, but for a fate of time and history, that could well have been me with my Dad on a boat trying desperately to make others survive. should we also fail to learn from history, one day that could just as much be me with James doing that. yes, he gave me a hug.

well, anyway, there are other things i could say - in particular a moment which was the absolute perfect personification of the English way of doing things - but let me leave it there. if this has all been of use or interest to someone, well then so much the better.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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