Six rea­sons why Bol­ly­wood movies are no match for it.

Woman's Era - - News - Enakshi J.

Christo­pher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a slap in the face of Bol­ly­wood’s naïve film­mak­ing. There is no doubt that prac­ti­cally ev­ery­one looks for­ward to Nolan movies as they evoke in­tense emo­tions and beat one’s brains out. You can­not clas­sify th­ese movies as Chi­nese Arith­metic be­cause they have a logic be­hind the se­quence of events. His movies are mostly about time – how time works in dreams, in space and in mem­o­ries. And yet again Christo­pher Nolan strikes the right chord by pre­sent­ing Dunkirk as a race against time.

Dunkirk cap­tures three dif­fer­ent time­lines and three dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives: a week at The Mole, a day in The Sea (the English Chan­nel) and an hour in The Air. The story re­volves around the four lakh sol­diers stranded on the coast of Dunkirk, star­ing at the English Chan­nel, wait­ing to be res­cued. On 01 Septem­ber, 1939, Ger­many in­vaded Poland, prompt­ing Eng­land and France to de­clare war on the for­mer two days later. An­nex­ing of Poland in­volved tanks, warships, war­planes and bombs. This marked the be­gin­ning of the World War II. On 10 May 1940, Ger­many in­vaded France, Lux­em­burg, Bel­gium and the Nether­lands, grad­u­ally con­quer­ing Sedan, the Nether­lands and Lux­em­burg. On 21 May, 1940, Win­ston Churchill waved the green flag for Op­er­a­tion Dy­namo that was to res­cue the sol­diers stranded on the coast of Dunkirk. With the Ger­mans sur­round­ing them from the east, west and the south, the sol­diers only had the north­ern coast of Dunkirk for them­selves.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) sent Spit­fires to com­bat the at­tacks by the Ger­man Luft­waffe and this dog­fight con­tin­ued for days. It was only with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the civil­ians that more than three lakh sol­diers were safely res­cued.

Nolan’s prow­ess lies in the keen ob­ser­va­tion of the emo­tions and the sen­ti­ments of the pet­ri­fied sol­diers. Here are six pos­si­ble rea­sons why Bol­ly­wood movies are no match for Christo­pher Nolan's Dunkirk:

Movie run­time

Un­like most Bol­ly­wood movies that of­fer the re­dun­dant con­cept of love and ha­tred just

like the old wine in a new bot­tle,

Dunkirk has some­thing new to of­fer. It de­scribes the strug­gle, the fear, the des­per­a­tion and the in­ten­tion. The movie runs for one hour 47 min­utes and is an over­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that will make the view­ers cling to their seats. Where most Bol­ly­wood movies have a cliched plot, the ex­po­si­tion be­ing the two pro­tag­o­nists who are strangers, and the res­o­lu­tion be­ing that the pro­tag­o­nists fall­ing in love,

Dunkirk’s plot can­not be eas­ily bro­ken down into the sev­eral stages.

Pre­cise­ness of the script

The script of Dunkirk is said to be only 76 pages long, which is very un­likely for a movie that aims to por­tray the in­tense emo­tions and the strug­gle for sur­vival.

How beau­ti­fully the movie por­trays the des­per­a­tion and the im­pul­sive na­ture of the sol­diers when a few of them de­cide to swim to the other end. Where, on one hand, Bol­ly­wood has lengthy scripts and stretched run-time, Dunkirk leaves no stone un­turned to serve as a com­plete pack­age. The per­fect length of the script helps in avoid­ing ex­haus­tion from strain and sus­pense.

Background score

Ap­par­ently, Bol­ly­wood be­lieves in in­clud­ing six-seven songs in a movie so that the view­ers can ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­quis­ite gowns and the rugged look of the ac­tress and the ac­tor, re­spec­tively. But doesn’t that song act as a speed breaker? Take Air­lift for in­stance; the movie could have been made bet­ter but the ad­di­tion of Love an­gle and the pic­tur­i­sa­tion of dra­matic songs de­terred the view­ers from con­nect­ing emo­tion­ally with the plot. Dunkirk, on the other hand, has a con­tin­u­ous background score that makes the ten­sion pal­pa­ble. It proves that only a clever sound­track is all that is needed to make the emo­tions more pro­nounced.

If one would have no­ticed, Christo­pher Nolan uses a Tick­ing clock as a se­quence for ev­ery movie, be it In­cep­tion or In­ter­stel­lar or Dunkirk, re­mind­ing us ev­ery now and then that we all are in a race against time. The over­whelm­ing or­ches­tra seems to as­cend with ev­ery pass­ing sec­ond but in re­al­ity, it doesn’t.

Lack of dra­matic scenes

Dunkirk lacks drama and di­a­logues. Hav­ing barely any di­a­logues, Dunkirk not only de­pends on the act­ing skills of the ac­tors but also the por­trayal of im­mense trauma and in­tim­i­da­tion. The movie has nu­mer­ous soli­tary con­fronta­tions (when the English sol­dier is bom­barded with metal bul­lets in the be­gin­ning, when the first Spit­fire crashes into the water, when the Ger­man Luft­waffe show­ers bombs on The Mole) and ghastly en­coun­ters (when the troop of 12 sol­diers wait in the grounded ship for the high tide and are greeted with bul­lets, when the tor­pedo cap­sises the ship and the evac­uees are left to drown or rather get burnt). The melo­dra­matic con­tent is miss­ing from the movie and that is what dif­fer­en­ti­ates it from the Bol­ly­wood films.

Bol­ly­wood’s ob­ses­sion with love

Love is an in­tan­gi­ble emo­tion and Bol­ly­wood’s ob­ses­sion with this emo­tion seems ev­i­dent in all the movies. Re­cently, Jagga Ja­soos was re­leased and it proved to be an off­beat film. The story was strong, the con­cept was new but then came the part when the hero falls in love with the hero­ine – and lo and be­hold – the un­pre­dictabil­ity of the story was lost in the woods! A sim­i­lar mishap in the movie Air­lift proves that in­tro­duc­ing the love an­gle is not al­ways a good idea, as it acts as the sud­den jerk in the stretched string, mak­ing it vi­brate, lead­ing to di­ver­sion of at­ten­tion.

Less use of CGI (Com­puter Gen­er­ated Im­agery)

Films like Bahubali and Kr­rish, where the main fo­cus is on throw­ing half the props in the air de­pend mainly on the CGI. In one of the in­ter­views, Nolan claimed that he re­frained from us­ing the CGI as it would have ham­pered the orig­i­nal­ity of the movie.

Nolan beau­ti­fully brings out the es­sen­tial para­dox in the movie by ex­pos­ing the view­ers to both sides of the coin. The movie’s theme is the met­tle of the sol­diers who are faced with life-chang­ing de­ci­sions, de­ci­sions that can ei­ther be cor­rect or can prove fa­tal (the de­ci­sion of hid­ing in the grounded boat and wait­ing for the high tide to be afloat). The fear that haunts the sol­diers be­comes ev­i­dent as and when they take a call and act re­spon­si­bly and thought­fully. Bril­liantly com­piled to­gether, nei­ther of the three nar­ra­tives de­scribes or talks about the char­ac­ter of the sol­diers out­side the bat­tle­field. And this helps the au­di­ence to form an un­bi­ased opin­ion. All said and done, Dunkirk can be clas­si­fied as the master movie among war movies be­cause it de­picts the real men­tal state of the ones who fight for us and give up their lives. There is hon­our, fear, ap­pre­hen­sion, des­per­a­tion and an in­stinct of sur­vival in ev­ery sol­dier – all to­gether in that one mo­ment of war. We


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