With the rampant popularity of the movie Dunkirk, I want to express why I number among the small minority which did not care for the film. The reasons are no where near as silly as one reviewer’s complaint about the absence of blacks in the film. As a huge fan of WWII films (I was practically raised on Guadalcanal Diary, Hell to Eternity, The Enemy Below, and The Longest Day), I am actually happy that people like the movie. More and better WWII films will result from its popularity.
Most of my complaints derive from having read Churchill’s account of the Dunkirk evacuation and being such a WWII movie buff. I hope to highlight these problems below and then provide a list of some better WWII movies, all of which I have seen, which modern audiences might want to watch.
1) Lack of Characters
In watching the movie, it seems as though Nolan did not want any particular characters to stand out. The only persons names I remember learning were the civilians on their yacht who sailed to Dunkirk: George, Peter, and Mr. Dawson. But, even these do not seem so much individuals as types.
I just thought that I’d share Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech, which he delivered during the candidacy of Barry Goldwater for president. I can’t think of a better speech delivered in recent memory, and it should be a real treat for liberty-loving Americans who have never hear it before.
This article was inspired by the massive amounts of violence, anger, and anxiety surrounding the recent election. One sees America fragmenting into groups and Tribalism reigning supreme. What happened to the America of the 90’s and early 2000’s, where both sides of the political spectrum were more willing to listen to each other? The breakdown of discussion goes hand in hand with the all-out Kulturkampf of recent times. As much as we all desire unity, there exist two Americas: one capitalist and God-fearing, the other socialist and atheist. The means of pushing down the other culture range from political correctness to controlling the education system to laws to pop culture to judicial mandates. Any and every encroachment by one side breeds anger and irritation in the other.
Cartoon depicting the caning of Charles Sumner.
I want to be fair to the Left, but they are responsible for the majority of violence in recent times: Who smears police officers as universally corrupt, which motivates Black Lives Matter activists to kill police officers? Who refuses to acknowledge that Islamo-fascists are killing Westerners just for being American or European? Who has banished one side of the political spectrum from many college campuses through adherence to political correctness? A political correctness that not only condemns racial slurs and derogatory speech (which should be held in contempt by right thinking men) but even any argument which disagrees with the Leftist worldview? Who has labelled half the country as racists, Nazis, fascists, xenophobes, sexists, etc.? Do they not know that the popular culture equates Nazis and fascists to outlaws, i.e. people who may be killed on sight? Is it the Right Wing that trashes DC while waving Red and Anarchist flags? Some of Trump’s remarks sound plenty offensive to certain people. But, one has the right to say whatever one wishes in a free country, and we can either live as free men of a republic or as slaves of a totalitarian state.
Every once in a while, I force myself to read Civil War history from a Unionist perspective in order to keep a broad vision of the war. I was happy to pick up Timothy Egan’s The Immortal Irishman, which chronicles the life and times of Thomas Francis Meagher, because it not only gives a Unionist perspective but even an Irish perspective to the war. This general was famed for commanding the Irish Brigade (New York’s Fighting 69th descended from this unit), which suffered the third highest casualty rate of any in the war. Only Vermont’s 1st Brigade and Wisconsin’s Iron Brigade suffered higher casualties.
Meagher was originally an Irish citizen and advocated vociferously for an independent Ireland. One thing this book does well is depict the tyrannical laws England imposed on Ireland in order to destroy its culture and religion. England’s repression of their Irish neighbors make America’s persecution of various Indian tribes look almost benign in comparison. During Meagher’s time in school, he earned himself beatings merely for speaking with a brogue and refusing to doff his Irishness. He eventually joined the Young Ireland movement in order to further his efforts to preserve Irish culture and advocate for political rights.