Many conflicting emotions have been playing in my head since I saw Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. For a history student, watching one of the greatest director’s alive make a war movie was nothing short of a spectacular experience. But, something died in me the moment I finished watching the film. And I have been trying to pen it down since then.
History is taught to us as a boring, drab subject in school. In college, one can love the discipline because there are so many ways to interpret the ways of men (and women). But what is never taught to us is how monstrous war is. How it never fetches anyone any happiness, it creates only misery.
The worst invention of humankind is war – for it discriminates between no one when it sets out to destroy.
Those men in Dunkirk – they weren’t out there for patriotism. They just wanted to go home. The larger-than-life pictures which we are fed of celebrating soldiers, their love for the motherland, patriotism – honestly, it’s all just a bunch of lies.
No emotion is greater than one’s love to live and I am glad Nolan made that point loud and clear in Dunkirk.
No one wants to die – especially on the battlefield. It’s a brutal life these people, the youth of the 1940’s lived, so that we can see our future today.
Realising that I am walking on the dead bodies of so many young people, whose sacrifice made me who I am today, made me feel grateful for my life. And sad. No one deserves war, no one deserves a youth where the biggest concern is finding a way to live before you get bombed. Yet, we still are on the verge of going to war today. We still are ungrateful for what we have, for the sacrifices unwillingly made by so people.
Look at the sky. Imagine seeing a plane and being scared. Imagine the sea gulping you down because humans decided to use it as a weapon against you by building torpedoes. We have misused nature to gain, and unfortunately, we still continue to blame and maim nature. After watching Dunkirk, I don’t get it why selling arms is a ‘lucrative’ trade. Honestly, those arms will one day land in the hands of an unwilling 16-year-old who has to fight a war he/she has no intention of fighting.
War divides, creates crevices. War kills. I don’t care if Dunkirk wasn’t giving me the sci-fi Kodak feel of Interstellar. Dunkirk is real, it’s brutal and it’s a reality. The Second World War was less a war against the Nazis and the Axis powers, it was more a war against our principles and the sanity of mankind. People were tested in myriad ways and mostly, we failed as a species.
What I learned from the film was that history shouldn’t be taken flimsily. The monstrosity of war should be taught to students, the bad images of war should be flashed in front of them every single day. The hunger, destruction and poverty war brings should be shown to us, so that no one even dreams of war or glorifies it ever again.
I want more directors like Nolan to reflect this side of war in their movies. Pearl Harbor wasn’t an amazing love story, War Machine isn’t a cool movie. War is not fun. Ask those who went through it. Or just look at Syria or the Philippines right now. Death can be avoided for those who want it, but only if we learn from history, unfortunately.