Following my original post on Dunkirk, I have now seen the movie (twice). I am pleased to report that not only was there no sobbing in the theater, but there was no squealing when Harry Styles came on screen.
It is really astounding to think that Mehera Bonner at Marie Claire watched the movie, and instead of feeling empathy for the men (and a few women) undergoing such an ordeal, felt envy for men:
…to me, Dunkirk felt like an excuse for men to celebrate maleness—which apparently they don’t get to do enough.
As I noted I ended up watching the movie twice. The first time I went with my wife. After my wife described the movie our daughter asked if I would take her to see it too. My wife had in the meantime read about the process the filmmakers used to shoot the aerial scenes in IMAX, and this made me decide to watch it the second time in an IMAX theater. As USA Today explains in How Christopher Nolan shot those amazing aerial ‘Dunkirk’ dogfights:
“I would be on the ground waving (them off),” says Nolan. “Craig would run the camera and fly the plane. They would do a half-hour sortie, come back and we’d look at the tape.”
IMAX cameras allow for only three-and-a-half minutes of film shooting at one time, so the process was drawn out — each short shoot required a landing, review and film reloading.
“There were literally hundreds of take-off and landings. Up and down. Reload and shoot,” says Hosking
I’m not sure I noticed a big visual difference between the regular theater and IMAX, but the sound was much better in the IMAX theater. Either way, the entire movie is excellent, and the Spitfire scenes are truly magnificent.
One aspect of the movie shatters the normal pattern, and is especially unusual if your frame of reference is Christian movies. One of the protagonists (Mr. Dawson) is a father, and yet his character is portrayed entirely positively. There is no reference to God, but otherwise in word and deed he is the archetypal Christian father. He is a courageous and wise leader who not only cares for the survival needs of the men he rescues, twice he also steps in to defend individual men’s dignity when their courage is questioned. While this kind of positive portrayal of a father sadly can’t be permitted in Christian movies, at least some secular film makers are still willing to buck the feminist anti father narrative.
At one point Dawson makes a reference to one of my other favorite characters in the movie. Dawson recognizes the Spitfires without having to turn to look at them, telling his son:
Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Sweetest sound you could hear out here.
Indeed it was a sweet sound.