We Survived Dunkirk . . . and the Ride Home
The boys and I saw Dunkirk today and we survived-- but just barely; Christopher Nolan's film is loud, frantic, relentless and visually myriad . . . land, sea, and air-- each with its own time scale-- all of which eventually interlock in a moving but properly anticlimactic climax (this is the story of an evacuation, not a great victory, and while there are incredibly heroic individual acts and moments selfless behavior amongst the general chaos of hundreds of thousands of trapped soldiers being evacuated across the channel, from Dunkirk to England, the brilliance of this movie is that you don't get a clear look at a single Nazi, there are the Spitfires and the U-boats, and Germans occasionally shoot from afar, but this is essentially the story of heroic logistics, represented by Kenneth Branagh's stoic portrayal of Commander Bolton) and after two hours of shell shock and first-person virtual-reality warfare POV, I was fairly shook up . . . I wasn't able to properly relax until my son got the Planet Money podcast going in the car-- a brilliant story about Stephon Marbury's budget basketball shoe, the Starbury-- and I zoned out, listening, happy that I had successfully evacuated my children from Dunkirk, as we sped across the Morris Goodkind bridge on Route 1 and then--suddenly-- I was thrust back into the film, into the first person cockpit view, and something was speeding toward my face, a rock, a rock was hurtling towards my face and I ducked-- I actually ducked-- and the rock glanced off the windshield with a loud clack (chipping it) and the kids were like "What the hell!" and I noticed that the truck ahead of me had a sign on it that read "CONSTRUCTION VEHICLE DO NOT FOLLOW" and so I pulled into the right lane and stopped following it.