Many expressed their enthusiasm about “Dunkirk”, released in the middle of July told the tale of British World War II soldiers who were trapped on France’s beaches.
After I went to see the movie myself, Director Christopher Nolan certainly captured real moments well during tenuous moments.
The camera rolled with the twists and turns of the fighter pilot (Tom Hardy), making you feel that you were along for the ride.
The beginning showed a bombing in which soldiers ducked from the impact, but half the ship was still blown to smithereens.
While many may not understand what it was like to live in constant fear of your life as a soldier, “Dunkirk” presented such sound scenes for a viewer’s imagination.
On the other hand, Dunkirk afterward opened up to the hope for new life.
Indeed, the initial scene appeared bleak as soldiers walked down empty streets in gray skies with papers raining down.
It first gave an impression that the location was deserted but soon gunshots disturbed the silence.
From there, Dunkirk showed scenes of multiple soldiers throughout the movie, each trapped in their physical circumstances and in their musing minds.
Once I watched the whole movie, I saw the papers as a symbol for waiting for either good or bad news.
The ending answered the question through a newspaper that one soldier had asked from an errand boy at a train station.
What I most appreciated about “Dunkirk” was that it addressed shell-shock, now known as post-traumatic stress.
One rescued soldier (Cillian Murphy) rescued remained silent during the first half of the film.
When the captain’s son (Tom Keoghan) asked if he wanted to go below deck, Murphy’s character freaked out.
Later the son debated whether he should lock the soldier in the cabin because of a heated disagreement that broke out about heading straight home to England and forgetting about the stop in Dunkirk.
The camera close cuts between the son’s face and his finger lingering on the latch shows how much he wrestled with how much he should trust a soldier gone mad.
Later on, a tragedy would strike that would at first enrage the soldier’s son, but ultimately would develop compassion for the PTSD soldier.
One part I did struggle with is that the characters were not named as they were introduced on-screen, but it was something I gained appreciation for.
Nolan was likely attempting to tell as many stories as he could within the timeframe of the movie and in the process, some of those basic details got left behind.
However, as an audience, we also gleaned a much bigger picture than we might have otherwise.
At the end of the credits, a note thanked those veterans who shared their memories in contribution to the film.
While teamwork is a huge role in film, sometimes the powerful narrative is also not possible without the truth others are brave enough to relay.
When stories are lost, histories are too—his stories. It is not about facts and timelines only, but about the ones who lived.
It is not easy for veterans to share their trials with what they endured and mistakes that continue to haunt them.
Yet without their honesty, we as a people easily forget what it means to be human.