Film Review – DUNKIRK by Christopher Nolan

How did I watch the movie ?

It is important as I am no professional reviewer. The idea to watch the movie struck my mind at 10 am in the morning. I watched the movie at 11 am in an almost empty theatre in Calcutta. I advised my “business and personal network” that I am going for a very important client meeting ! This ensured no calls.

100 word historical background of the movie 

The evacuation of Dunkirk is one of the greatest mysteries of World War II. It is still not known why Hitler’s Panzers not did follow-through and decimate almost 3,00,000 trapped French and British Armies in Dunkirk. Eventually, the doomed army was delivered in one of the greatest military evacuation  in history, assisted by civilians with all sorts of vessels from the English coast. This was the swan song in greatness of British Navy and the British Empire.

The movie is seen through the eyes of some common soldiers – petrified and trying to survive.

image 1

Opening scene :our surrounded soldiers find one of this airdropped by the Germans


What Bollywood’s producers and consumers (viewers in India and people of Indian origin in other geographies) of movies may  consider and reflect (however painful) in the movie ?

  • In spite of all temptations in terms of the locales, visuals and the grand historical event, the director did not thread a romance / elopement in the story. It would have been as sacrilegious as putting the same in Euclid’s Fifth Postulate.
  • There was no song – patriotic, romantic or not. Nothing. Only a background score that you forget most of the time because you find your ear in your lower abdomen throbbing in terror and mortal fear as what happens next. Movies must move, it must – otherwise you can have a radio drama. Making great movies is not the line of work of faint-hearts.
  • From the first shot to the last, the Director was respectful to three things – time of his own, time of the film’s time, time of the audience – to tell his story. Most of our Indian films literally consider that man’s soul is eternal and hence in 99.9% of the cases, it is always excess, everything in excess. No one knows when to stop or how to stop.
  •  Details money cannot buy : Every building, the paint in the spitfires and Messerschmidt and Hurricanes, the destroyers – all were period authentic. Many of our directors cannot take the ruse under the classic alibi now – “We are poor Sir, no budget Sir, we have none Sir…” No Sir, I disagree. You use 150 crores in a movie and to show what – stars with camera monopoly and nawabi weddings and nautch . Sorry – this alibi will not work.
  • International Appeal : The movie does not need any exposure to English, French, German, Dutch culture or history to absorb the essentials – the essential being Death in its multi-dimensional instantaneous form. The movie does not need any commentary – it is self-contained and self-effulgent. It has no specific target audience (like NRI brothers and sisters) – it is for any one who loves movies without any agenda for the sheer pleasure that only movie can provide.
  • Handling Emotion : One of the most mysterious aspect of movies (or even talkies) is the memory of emotion. Great Directors know this art – many directors with rich producers do not have this. There was no long lecture or perorations even though Churchill’s memorable peroration of “…. we shall never surrender” was depicted minus  its demagogic effect. It was communicated in an undertone.



image 2

This is depicted from land, water and air and they create a new view

I do not think most of our film directors will reflect on this and so will be their viewers. But things are changing. I was told that the last travelogue film – JHMS did not receive very warm reception in domestic market although it does matter little for the team that has made the film. Strange ? How come it does not matter for the entire film-making team if domestic market does not watch it in the theatres ? The Great Risk Mitigation by Indian Film Industry – a read that will be like Sherlock Holmes Report. Capital, Watson

What we, decent and white collar professionals from India can learn from the comparative analysis of this film while comparing majority of  our “blockbuster” films ?

Bollywood and Indian IT both have a fundamental problem – both became “cash rich” very fast and the going was so good that even though some top people always knew but none acted. They knew that once things change, they will be caught unaware. There will be no retreat.

Trust no present, however pleasant. 

Aram haram hain. 

Your clients and users who are not challenging you but lionizing you with their talk, purse and emotion are themselves ill-prepared for the future and will be decimated when “jamana karbat badalte hain.”

I find the same oily smiles, a satisfied look and thoughtless calm in the faces of so called successful people of Bollywood and Indian IT industry.

They will not remain such much longer.



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