Oscar Nominations 2018

It’s felt like a pretty wide-open awards season so far, but this morning’s Oscar nominations helped it take some shape — “The Shape of Water,” that is. (Yes, I hate myself, too, for that pun.) But Guillermo del Toro’s dark and swoony retro romance becomes even more of the favorite now with its leading 13 nominations, including best picture and director. And they’re all deserved. Del Toro is a visionary and a master craftsman, and “The Shape of Water” manages to be one of his signature, twisted monster movies while also functioning as a beautiful love letter to classic cinema. Plus: It has fish sex. It’s gorgeous, and if you haven’t already, please see it on the biggest screen you can find.

Having said that, today’s nominations also solidify the favorites in the acting categories: best actor Gary Oldman for “Darkest Hour,” best actress Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” supporting actor Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards” and Allison Janney for “I, Tonya.” All have been juggernauts so far, which (for the most part) is fine with me. I would have liked to have seen Armie Hammer get nominated for best supporting actor for my favorite movie of the year,  “Call Me By Your Name,” alongside Timothee Chalamet, whose well-deserved best-actor nomination makes him, at 22, the youngest person in this category since 1939.

The best-director category was really exciting, though, with four out of five nominees being first-timers. (All five also wrote their films’ screenplays.) Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) have emerged as distinct, young voices with powerful, personal stories to tell, and they bring some desperately needed diversity to the category. So does Mexican maestro del Toro. But it’s amazing to think the formidable “Dunkirk” marks Christopher Nolan’s first best-director nomination, given the many important and influential films he’s given us over the past two decades.

And Paul Thomas Anderson is the comparative veteran here for “Phantom Thread,” which was one of my favorite surprises of the day. I am so in love with this movie and was thrilled to see it receive six nominations: Besides best picture and director, it’s up for best actor Daniel Day-Lewis, best supporting actress Lesley Manville, Mark Bridges’ ravishing costumes and Jonny Greenwood’s lush score. (I so wish the stealthily great Vicky Krieps has been nominated for best actress, too. She is the engine that drives the movie and she absolutely goes toe-to-toe with the formidable Day-Lewis. And in certain lights, with her quiet sense of self-possession, Krieps reminds me of a younger Meryl Streep — who received yet another Oscar nomination for “The Post,” her 21st.)

Some other random thoughts:

— Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman to be nominated in the best cinematography category for her vivid, visceral work on Dee Rees’ historical epic “Mudbound.” You can practically feel the mud oozing beneath the characters’ shoes. (It’s is a metaphor for the racism of the post-World War II South, but it’s also quite literally mud.) Also nominated in this category is my hero, Roger Deakins, for his bold work on “Blade Runner 2049.” This is the 14th nomination without a win for the longtime Coen brothers cinematographer. He is long overdue. (I suspect it’ll go to Dan Laustsen for “The Shape of Water,” though.)

— James Franco did not receive a best-actor nomination for his deeply immersive portrayal of Tommy Wiseau, the delusional mastermind behind the cult favorite “The Room,” in “The Disaster Artist.” He won a Golden Globe and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award. But multiple allegations of sexual misconduct seem to have hurt his standing with Oscar voters, even though many already had sent their ballots in before the news broke in the Los Angeles Times. (Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber did get nominated for their adapted screenplay, though.) I get it. I do. It’s an icky, tricky situation that everyone in this industry is trying to navigate in the right way. Instead, we have the ordinarily great Denzel Washington receiving a questionable nomination for his mannered scenery chewing as the title character in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

— Kobe Bryant is an Oscar nominee, though, for “Dear Basketball,” the animated short he created and narrated. It’s basically the Lakers legend reading the letter he wrote announcing his retirement from basketball in The Players Tribune — an ode to Kobe, by Kobe. It’s pretty, though. He shares the nomination with director Glen Keane, an animation veteran. It’s only about 5 minutes long — you can watch it here.

— Nicolas was happy to hear that his favorite movie of the year, the thrilling “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” received four nominations: for sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects and score. The acknowledgement of the iconic John Williams’ music marks his 50th nomination.

— And speaking of movies kids love, I remain baffled by the accolades “The Boss Baby” has received. It’s already been nominated for a Golden Globe and an Annie. Today, it was included among the nominees for best animated feature. (I’m assuming the beautiful and beloved “Coco” will win.) The genuinely hilarious “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” is miles better. But maybe “The Boss Baby” provides some catharsis and healing for our wounded, splintered nation, in that it allows us to laugh at a Trump-like figure acting like the actual baby he is.


11 Comments on “Oscar Nominations 2018

  1.  by  Gerardo Valero

    It would make me very happy to see Del Toro get his Oscar but in all frankness, I didn’t care all that much for his “The Shape of Water”. Skip aside the fact that it is basically a “Spalsh” remake and also that the movie has two of the dumbest moments in recent cinematic memory (Hawkins writing her escape route in a calendar for everyone to see and Shannon finding the right dock on his first attempt). I just didn’t feel Hawkins and the monster making that much of a connection over a couple of boiled eggs for them to fall wildly in love. Thus, no matter how beautiflly made the movie is, nothing in it felt too relevant for me.
    At any rate, I remmember how upset your current president became when the foreigner Iñarritu won his Oscar for “Birdman” a years ago. A repeat of that alone would surely make Del Toro’s win worthwhile.

    •  by  Chris

      I’m with you. Never been impressed by Del Toro. Didn’t care for Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim, despite all the fawning praise critics gave him. I can’t put my finger on what it is that rubs me the wrong way, probably something to do with psychological realism. His characters act like they’re in a story rather than acting like real people put into fantastical situations. That just doesn’t do it for me, it rings untrue.

  2.  by  Duh

    Interesting that you mention Kobe Bryant right after James Franco. Maybe it’s because Franco is fresher in people’s minds that he was left out, and typical short-term-memory people have forgotten that Kobe Bryant was an alleged (or an admitted one, I suppose, since he publicly apologized) rapist who paid off his victim not to testify.

  3.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    Isn’t there some special attention that ought to be lavished upon talk in What the Flick, or other forum, about some of the really high profile movie projects of the year 2017, that end up being so not interesting, or so not impressive, moving or inspired – that they don’t even merit a mention in conversations about ‘the Oscars’? Every year, for as long as I’ve been listening, reading, to these professional movie critics in the U.S. who have their hands directly ‘on the pulse’ of what is happening in movies – there’s been some movie project in a certain year – that is conspicuous by it’s very absence. I’m thinking about a project, such as the new Bladerunner movie. The silence around Bladerunner as a movie project, in the context of debate about Oscar nominations for 2017, is deafening. And every year it is so. There is one project, or a few, that promise loads and are big events and then get forgotten about. This is the conversation about Oscar nominations that I’m really interested in hearing – however, it’s also the debate about Oscar nominations, that I never get to listen to unfortunately. It would tell us a lot more about why some work is good, and might even explain why some work is good, a lot quicker than the gushing praise that normally gets piled upon projects – that the critics do actually like.

    Not, what were the ‘worst’ movies of 2017. What were the biggest losers of 2017? The kinds of projects that did not bring home the bacon? And for whatever reason. Like, maybe it’s timing. Matt mentions, that with Bladerunner, they simply left it go too late? Is that really the case? I’d just want to remind someone, that we’re talking about Bladerunner. Along with Trainspotting and a couple of other cult movies, Bladerunner looms as a kind of gigantic presence in the childhood and early adult maturation of a certain age group now. At least, if you come from a certain part of the world, it does. Yet, the sequel to the original movie Bladerunner, doesn’t even get a mention in conversation. Because, it wasn’t good enough to even earn that level of significance. The format used for reviewing the year of movie production – is based upon ‘best’ and ‘worst’ lists. And yet, there’s a key category in between the two, where the project is neither outstanding or of interest, for being either terrible or brilliant. And within that category of movie production banality, there are certain key projects, that should really punch above that class, and don’t.

    I mean to say, those are the kinds of projects – that literally, no director, no cast, no star actor, no matter how brilliant – is going to be able to solve. Because those are movie projects that were doomed along time, before it even got to the shoot. There was something internal that was un-resolved and incomplete, from the get-go. And that’s interesting, because it goes to the fundamentals of what movie making is all about. It’s not always about star directors or about star actors. Martin Sheen remarked once in an interview, before he moved to the Philippines to shoot ‘Apocalypse Now’ with Francis Ford Coppola, that Sheen spent some months shooting a film in Rome. It was a film which had one of the best casts of acting talent ever assembled in the one place – and the movie was terrible. The daft project small project that he moved to the Philippines to shoot (the first movie about Vietnam ever made I think), turned out to be one of the most important movies of the 20th century. Whatever about the many difficulties in the shoot that took over a year, and the lack of the movie’s commercial success, nevertheless ‘Apocalypse Now’ was something that folk could not ignore for ever. Similar, in fact to the original Bladerunner, in that respect.

    It’s an area where professional movie critics might really be able to offer some insight. One can learn something from looking at projects, that sometimes promised to have all of the right elements, the right components in them, and yet don’t even register a tremor on the quake meter. People have lent their criticism to a movie project like ‘The Post’ for example. But if one thinks about it, the movie ‘The Post’ is even more impressive as a movie project – for the fact that it didn’t end up as the new Bladerunner ended up. ‘The Post’ is one of those projects, that could have been built up to high heavens, and afterwards the disappointment could have been such, that the polite thing to do, would be to allow it to recede quietly into the past, and not even mention it. That is the sign of a truly great piece of movie production, the fact that something could get hype-d up to the extent of a project like that, and still manage to defend itself from a critical integrity point of view. ‘The Post’ as a movie, has distinguished itself in that respect, it hasn’t ended up on the same sideline as a project like Bladerunner has. But, still, I’d really like to hear the critics wrestle with this some time, when they review a year’s worth of movie production effort. What are the projects that are present, because they are absent?

  4.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    Re: Bladerunner Reflections

    Had a listen to the panel’s talk originally upon the release of the 2017 Bladerunner sequel, and something struck me about the conversation. It was one of those rare moments, when looking at a panel of movie critics discuss a project – started to look like a team of people with a screwdriver, an instruction manual, and one of those flat packed pieces of furniture – that look very nice in a catalogue, to fit into a studio apartment. That is, if you could manage to figure out, how to ‘put it together’. The truth of the matter was, that the team of movie critic experts, were still no further to putting it together at the end of seventeen lengthy minutes of broadcast, than they had been at the start. And on top of that, they added not one, but two additional conversation broadcasts, about the same subject, and still the true message of this work proved elusive. With the consequent result, that by the time that awards ‘season’ did arrive, no one wants to mention the Bladerunner sequel, out of the fear of re-opening that can of worms. Such is life.

    But then it occurred to me, in addition, that it gets even worse.

    There is a whole sub-category of works in cinema, and I don’t think it yet has it’s own specific name. That is the kind of movie, where someone like Adrian Brody arrives to the opening night of a new movie, expecting to take credit on a red carpet for his role as a leading man. And yet, he finds out to his horror, that his work practically all ended up on the cutting room floor. There was one other example of that kind of thing, I recall. That is the kind of movie, that either benefits or it suffers from radical action taken – not at the script writing stage, not at the shooting stage – but in the editing suite. It was a movie in which the leading character was named Keyser Soze. Similarly, it resulted in quite a ‘barney’, almost a ‘donnybrook’ amongst cast and crew after the opening night. Because none of the leading actors in the money could figure out who had in fact, played the part of Keyser Soze in the movie. Even though, they had just finished watching the movie.

    It appeared to me, as though our latest Bladerunner addition does fall into this sub-category of movies. You tilt or turn the ‘looking glass’ by a degree or two in the wrong direction – and all of the meanings suddenly, appear different. Very annoying too that is, for the movie critic experts. Hence the use of my analogy of screw drivers and instruction manuals, and inexpert map reading skills in general. All the best.

  5.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    Re: By way of contrast

    I think the terminology that one is reaching for, in the above description, is the ‘assemble it yourself’ movie, as opposed to the pre-assembled. And like in real life, there are good ‘assemble it yourself’ products, as much as there are ‘assemble it yourself’ product, that came straight from hell. Like, that lawn chair that goes up, when you push one end. And when you push the other end, that end goes up.

    A side issue, because it’s a broad generic comment.

    Take the movie about the young kid growing up in Sacremento, that is nominated for Oscars this year. I’m listening to Christy’s reviews for the last number of years, and what I have noticed is the emergence of a lot of effort to re-invent the ‘coming of age’ movie, for the more recent generations. As Christy explains, the director and screenwriter who made the ‘Ladybird’ movie recently, may have been someone who acted in such a movie herself, a decade ago.

    I’m reminded too, of the series that Alonso and Matt had done during the holiday period, wearing the Christmas jumpers, about all of the Christmas time movie. That culminated in quite a Donnybrook, over the many meanings of the movie ‘Die Hard’. What I think the audience on Christy’s channel may actually appreciate (given there are so many re-inventions nowadays, Like Me, social media culture etc, of teenage dramas), is a review of some of the architype movies in that genre.

    What were the crucial and salient elements in the coming of age, or youth culture, or teenage culture movie, as it was made say in 1985, as opposed to 2005? There are a lot of reviews that come up now, on a week by week basis, that look at the question of what is growing up in America about today in 2018? It’s hard to do reviews of these movies, since we’re obviously comparing it to some earlier ‘wave’ of such movies, without really knowing what it was about that earlier work, that seemed to work. As I said, it’s a subject area, worthy of a study in itself of maybe a short list of ten classics. What I’m trying to explore I guess, is what is the part that doesn’t change, regardless of whether it’s pre-smart phone and ‘likes’, or after it?

    Stepping right out of that thought for one moment though – this is the suggestion that I would make. Unlike the movie about Keyser Soze, unlike a Terrence Mallick movie that keeps changing as it’s getting made, and unlike the recent Bladerunner movie who’s meaning is still being debated – unlike those ‘assemble it yourself’ types of products – often, the hallmark of the teenager ‘coming of age’ product, was that it did come beautifully pre-assembled for our consumption.

    Recently, on one of the streaming services, I stumbled across a movie like ‘The Breakfast Club’. It was really a weird experience watching that movie. I’d never seen it, and it’s dated from 1985 I think. And somehow or other, the message in that movie that is really an antique, has some kind of freshness about it, something that still rings true. And it made me wonder, as I witness Christy and her team struggling to wade through some of the 2017 and 2018 offerings of work, that claim to offer insight into youth culture – why is it, that a movie made in a pre-smart phone era, a pre-internet era – seem to deliver a greater payload now, at this time, than any of the more recent offerings? What is it, about a movie such as ‘The Breakfast Club’, that just doesn’t get old?

  6.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    That is the thing about ‘The Breakfast Club’, where it shares something in common with a modern Bladerunner sequel. It’s got a lot of these folks, who’re wondering where they came from, what their purpose is, what they’re supposed to want in life. ‘The Breakfast Club’ stars out as a complete mess, and one is left wondering who is this all supposed to resolve itself? How is this all supposed to work? What one walks away with, from the end of ‘The Breakfast Club’ however, is exactly that, some idea that all of the characters as different as they are, have figured out the riddle. As one of the character admits, I showed up for detention on a Saturday morning, because she had nothing better to do.

    Having watched the Bladerunner sequel in full this time, looked at it, something else strikes on. Bladerunner the original was made back in 1982, just three years before ‘The Breakfast Club’ came along in eighty-five. But one thinks about the context of 1982, what one can perceive now, what one is reminded of, when I see the 2017 sequel at least – is the notion of the ‘eastern block’ city, the society under communist, the society that is sort of falling apart. People talk about Bladerunner in terms of environmental degradation and destruction. Many of the reviews that Christy and the panel did, talked about a representation of San Diego as a dumping ground etc. However, there is a deeper level of environmental degradation and deterioration that one witnesses in a Bladerunner movie. That is the one (and Replicants themselves are kind of a harking back to that idea, of people are very like ourselves in many ways, but live on the other side of the wall etc), of social break-down, which is much more troublesome and dystopian in many ways, than the notion of simple environmental destruction.

    You add to that then, the other ‘contextual’ part, that was extremely vibrant and strong in movies in the early to mid eighties – such as ‘The Breakfast Club’ – and you’ve got that whole searching, rebellious spirit idea that crept into the original Bladerunner film. In a lot of ways, the characters who rub off of each other, in the confined space as shown in ‘The Breakfast Club’, are representations of different approaches to society. One approach being a very rules based approach, the pathway in life and one’s place is all set out. The other approach, decides that nothing is set out. Again, in these two movies, one set in ‘outer space’, one set in the school detention center on a Saturday morning, they’re both about young folk trying to figure out who they are, and their journey is reflective of the broader context in politics and society in the early eighties.

    It was the fact, that people living either side of the Iron Curtain back then, were at the same time so similar, and yet so different – which was good for cinema in a way – because it gave film makers to really probe those ideas in a very fundamental way. And that may be missing in the modern re-invention of the youth culture movie of today. I don’t know. In some way though, the notion of ‘east’ versus ‘west’ did manage to creep into ‘Ladybird’ movie. The young girl from Sacremento, who looks east to the intellectuals and where she believes society in it’s brightest form to really exist. All the best.

  7.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    Re: Coming of age story set in another galaxy, or mis-use of existing franchise?

    All more reason, why movie critics need to get a handle on this. We’re in need of orientation, vis-a-vis, what our movies about teenagers should be like. Exhibit ‘A’ – trailer about new ‘Han Solo’ episode to the new Star Wars series of movies. When we go into outer space, in a galaxy far, far away – there is a serious effort now to try and cash in – on the ‘coming of age’ theme in these franchises. The ‘Han Solo’ movie is perhaps an opportunity wasted again, in terms of what defines a very good ‘coming of age’ type of film. It raises whole questions, about where the comradery of Solo and the Wookie happened in the first place.

    Why couldn’t Solo meet Chewbacca in detention?

    Instead of making the Star Wars movie as a space ‘western’, and having to go through all of that planet hopping stuff, why can’t it be situated in a confined situation? I’d like to see a ‘force awakens’, version of ‘The Breakfast Club’. Jabba the Hut as the evil supervisor. A guy sitting next to Solo in detention as a robot. Another one, is in holographic form, beamed in from another galaxy. Yoda would sweeping the floors, like in ‘The Breakfast Club’. Instead, we’ll have Woody Harrelson wanting to ‘get together a team’, and then it all turns into a ‘Fast and Furious’ sequel. Sad.

  8.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    This thing of ‘we’re putting a team together’. In any normal coming of age, type of situation that’s now how collaborations are made. That’s not how it goes down. Yet, that’s the very best that our screenwriting talent in Star Wars episodes are able to come up with?

    ‘We’re putting a team together’, as Harrelson’s line goes in the trailer for the new movie, sounds more like we’re putting a ‘boy band’ together. That’s the only time in real life, that that scenario comes about in real life. And Han Solo and Chewbacca, don’t strike me as the type, who’d be interested in that audition.

  9.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    Re: Could the ‘Fast and Furious’ angle work, maybe?

    If they are going to do Fast and Furious in outer space though, it would be cool to see Vin Diesel (maybe, like a ‘Furian’ or something), actually take the millennium falcon into a drag race, and then have to re-build it in his garage, after it was crashed. The Han Solo character could be like the ‘Brian’ character in the first movie. The young kid, who helps with the re-build. There’s a lot of criticism of the writing of Han Solo in the upcoming movie, as this kid who has to steal cars and be bad as a kid to begin with. However, in the original Fast and Furious movie, Brian’ character is someone who starts out with good intention, coming from the right place and turns native. The scene from the original at a party, where the ‘Nurega’ song performed by Organic Audio, feels like something that would work in a Star Wars episode. Then the Han Solo ‘back story’ might start to make sense, in that he learns about the mechanics of how a space craft such as the Millennium Falcon actually works. I mean, at a low level systems level. Because Solo is one of those characters, like Michael Schumacher in Formula One Racing who actually understands how his racing machine works, as much as knowing how to drive it on a track.

    There’s a sort of mentor type character to Han Solo (like you’ve got Robert Duvall in ‘Days of Thunder’, who was a three dimensional character in that sense, with his own story arc within that movie, that supported the overall story), that I suspect might end up getting missed in this new movie, that needs to be there, in order to make the ‘younger’ Solo character at all credible. Same as Alec Guinness was something to Mark Hamill’s character in the 1970’s original Star Wars. It would be unfortunate if the Woody Harrelson character in this ‘Solo’ project, ended up becoming some kind of Dwayne Johnson derivative here. One of the advantages of doing that, is that it can create a movie where the character of either a Luke Skywalker or a Han Solo, is purposefully constrained to start out with. They’re very limited in the world that they can see as young kids growing up, and mostly like the young Luke Skywalker, they spend a lot of time inside of their own imagination. Then, contrasted with that is the world weary Ben Kenobi or whomever, kind of character. The one who has been to the other side of the galaxy, and is simply bored by it all, by the time we meet them in the first Star Wars. Obi Wan’s character is actually described as an ‘old hermit’.

    Something similar was used in the ‘Gladiator’ movie, the relationship between Russell Crowe’s character and the one played by Oliver Reed. Where Reed’s character ends up being some kind of guiding light to Crowe’s character, who seems to have lost his purpose in his existence. That’s essentially, what had happened in the dynamic between Paul Walker and Vin Diesel’s character in ‘Fast and Furious’. There are any number of movies, where this device has been used successfully. I’d be interested to see, how well or otherwise, the Han Solo episode will wrestle with all of that.

  10.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    Re: ‘Dunkirk’ best movie of 2017 – What were weaknesses in such a great movie?

    There is one serious difficulty I’ve noticed in terms of writing a script for a movie that is about conflict or war, or something of that nature that constantly ‘changes’ over time. It was something that was discussed a little bit in relation to ’12 soldiers’ movie, how remarkable it was that these twelve soldiers found themselves riding on horse back in Afganistan. It probably wasn’t what they signed up for, but it was what they ended up with. And literally, it was that or nothing kind of a choice.

    One can see how difficult it is to describe that aspect of conflict situations though in movies. I’d struggle in fact, to think of any example of a movie that managed to get it right.

    There is one example of a movie that is almost perfect in it’s execution in so many different ways. That is the example of the movie, nominated for awards this season, the Christopher Nolan movie Dunkirk. However, it is not a movie without it’s flaws, and the only difference between ‘Dunkirk’ as a war movie, and many others, is that it does take a long time to identify what were the weak points in Nolan’s work.

    It comes to mind, when one listens to actor Cillian Murphy talk about his scenes in the movie. Cillian Murphy for some reason had understood it from a logical perspective, even better than the Christopher Nolan script for the movie ‘Dunkirk’ had done. What Cillian Murphy explains, and what the movie doesn’t quite manage to translate – is that factor – like in ’12 Soldiers’, about the men riding on horseback in Afganistan. That is, how totally left of field and unexpected that some of the things that happen admidst a conflict situation can actually be.

    What Cillian Murphy explains, is that there wasn’t ever any ‘script’ within the history of warfare, that loads and loads of people in pleasure boats and holiday marine sailing vessels, would find themselves in the middle of an actual war, doing a job that is meant to be done by a navy. Unexpected things happen in the midst of warfare, such as the fact that Britain discovered that it’s traditional naval fleet above water, was no match for the submarine fleet operated by the Germans underneath the water. However, what is more unexpected in the Second World War, was that insertion of the many small civilian vessels that crossed the English channel and had succeeded in the evacuation of three hundred thousand human beings.

    There’s a scene in the movie ‘Dunkirk’, in which Cillian Murphy’s character ends up in an argument and subsequent physical struggle with the captain of the small recreational marine vessel. Cillian Murphy has one sentence (in a movie, that is sparse in the amount of dialogue it has), where he admonishes the captain of the small ship, for getting involved in the war effort at all. Murphy’s character asks, why does this man believe that he can do a job intended for the British Navy?

    That’s the scene in the movie, that is how it was written and developed and ultimately shot on camera. However, despite all of that, the message still doesn’t land. I.e. That perspective, looking at things prior to the event, or the perspective looking at things after. And what over-shadows so much of the movie ‘Dunkirk’, is the reality that we can see the events on Dunkirk in our rear view mirror. We have got a rough, approximate idea of what happened. What we don’t manage to realize, as we look at the movie ‘Dunkirk’ is that in the mind of the character that is played by Cillian Murphy – that he doesn’t have that same luxury.

    In fact, he’s a man who is a lone survivor from a larger vessel that had been torpedo-ed by a German U-boat. He’s a British soldier who expects to be rescued if possible in some way, by the mighty British navy organization and it’s many resources. What we don’t appreciate, is that this young British soldier played by Cillian Murphy, is going through this surreal experience, because he finds himself inside of a tiny pleasure craft that is steaming not away from Dunkirk, but towards it – whilst the German army is fast enclosing on that position on the northern French coast.

    Christopher Nolan’s movie is a fantastic movie. Many folk reckon that his movie, is by far the best single movie of 2017. I wouldn’t or couldn’t argue with that. However, despite this movie’s obvious and often striking quality and brilliance – it is not a movie without it’s failures. It takes a long, long time though having watched ‘Dunkirk’ movie, and getting some perspective about it’s efforts to tell the story – before one can begin to detect the precise places, in which the movie didn’t land it’s punch as well as it could.

    I thought that it was probably a mistake on the part of the writing by Christopher Nolan to have written Cillian Murphy’s character, as having the serious level of ‘shell shock’ that he suffered from. Because, when watching the movie, we don’t understand whether it is ‘shell shock’ speaking, or logic that is speaking, when Cillian Murphy’s character refuses to want to return to the scene of Dunkirk, having managed to escape from there.

    It’s an example of where Christopher Nolan, probably ought to have divided the Cillian Murphy character into two instead of one persons. In that way, we might have been better able to distinguish between the character who was the communication of the emotions, that is shell shock. And, another character beside that, another ‘lone survivor’ as it were, who could be relied upon to deliver the lines, that brought us into the moment, and described how surreal it must have been for him to find himself in the small boat, steaming in the wrong direction.

    Independence Day movie comparison

    Like, it was done very well I recall in the movie ‘Independence Day’, in which the character of the scientist and his father are in an automobile, driving in the opposite direction to that which everyone else in Los Angeles is driving. The Dad wryly commented to his genius son, that we’re the only two smucks that are driving in the wrong way. In that instance, you can see also, they didn’t make the mistake of trying to combine the character of father and son, in Independence Day, into one character. So it’s easier for the audience watching, to distinguish between a voice of science and genius, and the one of common sense and logic.

    It is that single line, inserted at the right moment – delivered by actor Judd Hirsch – that brings one out of the moment, outside of the mind of Jeff Goldblum’s character in ‘Independence Day’ for long enough – to appreciate the wider reality of what was going on in Los Angeles city, with the evacuation of it’s entire population. That is the line, the character or the moment, in the movie ‘Dunkirk’ that was actually missing. The part of the script that was missing, and thereby a whole lot of the efforts of Cillian Murphy, Mark Ryland and the other actors, sort of missed it’s mark, as a result.

    Script writing and directing are different, and in this movie Christopher Nolan did take on both responsibilities. However, the tricky thing about script writing is that in order to make it appear effortless – get it down to one small but important line of dialogue, placed into the mouth of the right character in the story – can take an awful lot of not-so-effortless graft and struggle.