Movie Reviews #48: Dunkirk…

Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan, dir. It’s hard to tell how much Hollywood destroys history in this one. The story told here focuses on three persons—a no-name Frenchman posing as a Brit (Damien Bonnard), a British fighter pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy), and the crusty skipper, Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance), on his way to Dunkirk with his son and the son’s friend. This focus makes the huge evacuation a personal story for these men who are probably only representative of the many personal and untold stories related to the operation.

The movie doesn’t portray the big picture, in fact. It’s available in IMAX, but there aren’t small boats, the Brits lined up on the beach don’t look desperate enough, and I’m sure the air battle waged to protect the ships was much more intense. That said, this is worth seeing. Ubiquitous Hollywood war movies generally focus on the U.S. role, but this is all mostly British with a wee bit of French, a fitting tribute to the fact that the Brits, defying all odds, stood their ground against the Nazis. Dunkirk was a huge loss—continental Europe became part of the Third Reich—but at the same time it was the beginning of the end for Hitler, who was never able to overrun Britain. Later the Brits would bring Nazi Germany to its knees with the continuous bombing raids on the fatherland carried out by the RAF.

There were slow points in the movie and at times the dialogue was either lost or garbled, but this movie is more visual, and there is plenty of action. Obviously there are scenes of violence. And thanks go to Hollywood for not sticking syrupy romance into the plot. I only remember one woman, a nurse who was directing soldiers who had carried the wounded into the hold of a ship early on in the movie.

The film isn’t without controversy, though. Mr. Bolton, the pier master, played by Kenneth Branagh (a small role for a famous star, to be sure), was based on a historical character, Mr. Clouston, and he was instrumental in saving 200,000 troops at Dunkirk. Commander Clouston died on the last boat out of Dunkirk. Why the name change? His son is justifiably furious. Emma Thomas, Branagh’s wife, tried to weasel out of it. I’ll take this opportunity to recognize the father here. Hollywood should learn to NOT change history, even if the tinkering is small. The name change was unconscionable. I apologize to all the heroes of Dunkirk and their families on behalf of Hollywood; Thomas said all names were changed to protect the heroes. Huh? How ‘bout honoring them? I hope Hollywood recognizes that many Yank moviegoers wouldn’t condone these historical changes…ever.

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Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). Happy reading!

In libris libertas…

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