Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(UK, USA, France, Netherlands, 2017)

We recently enjoyed Their Finest, a film about the making of a blatantly false propaganda piece about Dunkirk. Since Lee has sworn off war films, I went to see this one by myself, and it’s a very good one. One of the best things about it is that it doesn’t concentrate on phony heroics. It acknowledges that most soldiers, most of the time, are frightened to death in combat. And some of them behave badly. We see two guys who are trying every possible way to jump the line and get off that damn beach before the Nazi fighters strafe them again. And we see another soldier just give up and walk into the surf. Better to drown than endure this any longer. It’s a no-name cast except for Kenneth Branagh as the commander in charge of the evacuation, and he’s just about the highest-ranking officer we see. Oh, yeah, and Cillian Murphy as a soldier so terrified and out of control that he ends up accidentally killing one of the young men on a boat in the rescue flotilla. Horrible, horrible. It’s not for the faint of heart, it takes you right into that nightmare as vividly as Saving Private Ryan did. Seeing movies like this always confirm my wisdom in avoiding the war in Vietnam. And I don’t apologize for it. I have no doubt that I would have disgraced myself as badly as any of these grunts do. And I’m still alive …