Dunkirk & The State of Cinema

Joined: June 15th, 2011, 9:35 am

August 18th, 2017, 8:31 am #1

Dunkirk is written and directed by Christopher Nolan...cast list includes Kenneth Brannah, James D'Arcy, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy, the last two actors are often cast in a Nolan film and introducing Fionn Whitehead, making his movie debut along with Harry Styles of One Direction who plays a slightly lesser part.

Finally got to see Dunkirk on the big screen this week which it really does need to be seen on, although in my case not in IMAX, which the director originally intended the film to be seen in. I seriously contemplated seeing it at the IMAX Science Museum because I've never been to their cinema and like trying new experiences...I did see one of the same director's Batman trilogy at the IMAX in Waterloo...it was an incredible experience but I felt that I was tipping towards the screen so high up was the seating.
Anyway in the end I saw 70mm version at the Odeon, Leicester Square.

Yes there may well have been finer and more detailed and factual films telling the incredible story of the mass evacuation of British and Allied troops in a desperate rescue attempt called Operation Dynamo in May and June 1940. The last series I saw on the subject was BBC TWO's excellent television 'factual' Dunkirk about the Battle of Dunkirk and the Dunkirk evacuation broadcast over 3 successive nights in February 2004...where all the characters portrayed were real and all the events were taken from first-hand accounts of private letters lodged by Dunkirk veterans and usage of previously unseen records at the National Archive.

Nolan's film was clear about its intentions from the start...to put you right in the action at a French coastal town in May 1940 being protected behind a high wall of sandbags by Allied troops with the imminent threat of Germany's arrival, as a young Tommy played by newbie Fionn Whitehead, runs for his life against the continuous bombardment. And like the scenes first witnessed in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, you were definitely put in the action.

The story advanced in little vignettes covering events in what seemed like one day and night at the home port of Dover, on the beaches, at sea and in the air. It was not too gory if you overlook the inevitable casualties of war. Terrifically well shot, so you really felt you were there, at times experiencing the tension and horror of war, and then to add to the emotion the music by another Nolan collaborator, Hans Zimmer, kicked in. There was no physical combat with the enemy...they were stilll on the march...but the soldiers felt the threat of their imminent arrival.

Like a film of this genre, Dunkirk has dug in and is still going strong in its fourth week at the top of the UK box office after opening here on 21st July, reaching £44.8m, making it the biggest hit of the summer and the industry is confident that it will go north of £50m by the end of it's run...about double the original projection. Meanwhile, Dunkirk has earned $156.3 million in North America and $210.5 million overseas for a worldwide total of $366.8 million.

Warner Bros confirmed on Wednesday that Christopher Nolan will be taking the film to China later this month as it opens on lst September...one of two international markets remaining for the title namely China and Japan, the world’s second and third largest box-office territories. Although his past promotional tours have taken him to other parts of China, he's visiting Beijing for the first time. The film will open in Japan on 9th September.

I'm a fan of Mr Nolan's in the main and this film adds favourably to his cannon of work! ? ? ? ?


Twitter link to @dunkirkmovie https://twitter.com/dunkirkmovie?ref_sr ... r%5Eauthor

Link to the press release pack for BBC2 2004 Dunkirk docu-drama http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressr ... kirk.shtml
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Joined: July 11th, 2011, 11:44 pm

August 19th, 2017, 10:18 pm #2

We are interested in history and my husband had an uncle that he thought was killed at Dunkirk but that seems to have been wrong. We thought of going to see this but then heard it was more an action film than an accurate account, and we don't much like action films. So we didn't bother with it.
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Joined: June 15th, 2011, 9:35 am

August 19th, 2017, 11:08 pm #3

Well of course it's an action film...it's a war film but not in the thrash, bang, wallop style of films are all action, often filled with gratuitous violence and not much else...there's so much more content in this film and yes it's the directors take on the Dunkirk story, an true event in British history, but to say it's not accurate does it an injustice, especially without going to see it...for instance, the quietness that someone like the excellent Mark Rylance brings to the screen in his performance of a older civilian sailing his small but trustworthy vessel into danger in one of the vignettes is well worth seeing!
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Joined: June 15th, 2011, 9:35 am

August 21st, 2017, 2:28 pm #4

Apropos the success of Dunkirk, which everyone seems to have a view about in its short life; having been co-opted by the ghastly Nigel Farage, accused of racism and yet made so much money that the Studio must be desperate for Dunkirk 2: The Return!

Dunkirk has, like La La Land in January, been a must-see at the cinema for adults, which is odd given that we're told cinema is supposed to be over, replaced by Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV, X-box, Snapchat or any number of inventions a glut of columnists claims have killed off the big screen!

"Cinema is mainly pretty bad" said director/producer Ridley Scott late last year but perhaps he was talking about his own films! ha ha! However, from Martin Scorsese's Silence on New Year's Day to Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, Molly's Game, due for release on 26th December 2017, this year will be a banner year for movies. Manchester by the Sea (a very good film and in my opinion underrated despite being nom'd for 6 and winning 2 Oscars), Jackie, Elle and we've not even hit autumn yet, when brains take over from blockbuster in the run-up to the awards season. So, yes, despite everything you read, cinema is far from failing. It is, in fact, booming!

This is backed up by Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association...'we are in a period of considerable success' says Phil..."the death of cinema is often foretold, but it's horribly exaggerated" ...and he isn't merely glorifying his trade. Back in the mid-1980's, cinema was, he admits, in "mortal threat. Admissions in 1984 sunk to an all-time low of 54m but last year 168.3m tickets were sold and, this year, that figure will be higher. "The premise that TV has overtaken cinema is based on wilful misreading of facts and lazy journalism" Phil goes on to say. There is an argument put by the columnists and lazy journalists that smart films are restricted to January and the Autumn, leaving little for the grown-ups over a lengthy run of months. Phil Clapp's organisation agreed and lobbied film distributors for an evenly spread selection of films...and although not yet perfect, the improvement is obvious.

And let's hear it for the girls!!! This summer has Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled and Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit in multiplexes. Both seek Oscards and in the past would have been released in the colder season. Throw in Dunkirk and Edgar Wright's well-received Baby Driver and, for the first time in a decade, the summer's talking points aren't infantile.

The flagship Vue in London's Leicester Square underwent a substantial (and much needed may I add after my girlfriend & I once spotted mice running down the aisle) facelift this year which reduced capacity from 2,472 to 1,350...Tim Richards, CEO of Vue explained why if attendances have risen, the capacity of a key site has been cut? "Sometimes what we have seen is when you decrease the number of seats and put in higher-quality fare like fully reclining leather seats, attendances increase not decrease. So you might look at this in terms of you having lost 40% of your seats but I'd say our attendance is going to go up 30%." ...because the experience is nicer? "Whatever it might be, people just come more frequently" says Richards.

In February, I read about Asher Charman and Danielle Swift opening the Castle Cinema in Clapham, East London...they started in pop-ups with hipster ventures such as Pillow Cinema and Hot Tub Cinema, names that are self-explanatory. The Castle is their first permanent place, converted from a snooker hall and it's beautiful - 79 dark red armchairs with a lavish bar out front...similar to the Electric in Notting Hill but plusher! Interestingly they say 'there's no way we'd survive without a good bar offering, yet cinemas rely even more on their films. If the latter are rubbish, the former are empty and as the Castle is a space for adults, it needs films that adults will pay for. The Castle Cinema's existence and the £57,000 raised for it on Kickstarter, prove there is not only an appetite for cinema as a pastime but also confidence in the future.

The advent of National Theatre Live and other arts streaming, which we've mentioned in our theatre thread, has also helped bring in a different audience, an audience who instead of forking out about £400 to go see a play live find it more affordable to see live at the cinema, so based on a couple seeing Angels in America, a two-part show @ The National, requiring travel and babysitting, they could get away with £100 for both parts in the cinema.

Now for the twist ending! Phil Clapp, remember him?, expects 100 cinemas to open in the UK in the next five years. The billions going into the film production is unprecedented. With Dunkirk by Warner and Baby Driver by Sony, studios are backing original films that aren't part of a franchise. Having the certainty of strong films over the next five years provides confidence for investment Clapp says. Due to Disney & Warner Bros franchises such as The Avengers and Batman, investors know major movies are planned to 2022 and also that profits are finally being funnelled back from big hitters into smaller, grown-up fare for the Independent film industry to profit from. My girlfriend has finished worked on Spielberg's sci-fi movie Ready Player One (release date Spring 2018)...she's currently working on J.K Rowland's Beasts 2, and will go from that to Bond 25, plot and title as yet unknown...just a few of the big bucks earning movies in production!

In comparison, the most hyped television show this year is Love Island. Game of Thrones is ending next year...so is this actually a volte face and the end of TV?







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