hardy inc

Dunkirk (2017)

Seen on 23/8/17 in a 2D cinema, by myself.

The audio was visceral and scary. When the first bullets flew by our protagonist’s head, I jumped in my seat. The shock of bullets whizzing past and ricocheting against a building or a boat’s metal hull is horrifying, and I was glad not to have experienced it, as well as hopeful that I never will.

The phrase “Home”, although carrying one of the film’s most poignant themes, was repeated one time too many times in my opinion: the second time, in the interaction between infantry Colonel Winnant (James D'Arcy) and Navy Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh). I wonder if there was a sense of obligation to abide by the rule of three, for the theme to be recognizable and compatible with as many people as possible.

Great soundtrack, although I may have been too conscious of it after taking Hans Zimmer’s masterclass on film composition. I really liked it when the ticking noise stopped as soon as the lead, Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), fell asleep in the train at the end.

Powerful irony at the end where the one soldier doesn’t realize that the old man greeting them is blind and he decides that no one will even be willing to look at the returning soldiers. His own convictions and sense of failure blinded him to the truth the blind man quietly espoused: surviving is enough.

There were such grace and serenity in the story of the pilot, Farrier (Tom Hardy). His masterful, patient, and courageous fighting and landing encapsulated what seems to be the incredible achievement of the escape from Dunkirk and of winning WW2 in general. With no fuel, he managed to defend the remaining infantry on the beach and then land peacefully on the shore. Hardy once again acts primarily with his eyes, and does so very well, portraying realistically the behaviors of a hero.

The overall simplicity of the film was one of its strengths. The three parallel stories and their themes were straightforward and minimalistic in their telling, which was the main reason the film’s poignancy did not cross the line into the banal. As I see it, “the mole” focused on resilience and pure survival, “the sea” on empathy, and “the air” on courage.

The story of the rescued soldier (Cillian Murphy) was well-told, his performance subtle and heartbreaking. The shell-shock and pain were convincing, as was his helpless frustration with it all, and his regret for his fatal outburst. At the end, when through the crowd he saw the body of the boy he had accidentally killed, we suddenly lose him and never see him again, mirroring the loss he felt at that moment. The boy who tried to protect him from this truth grew in the process.

The old man (Mark Rylance) and his grief is hidden well, his motivation remaining a mystery until the very end. When we learn that he has recently lost his older son in the Air Force, his early comments and determination are explained.

Successful, minimalistic storytelling. It left its mark on me.

Christopher Nolan talking about DUNKIRK, Tom as Bane and Farrier, the “unofficial Nolan stock company” (inc. Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy), and more in Playboy USA (Jul-Aug 2017 issue). You can read the full interview here: http://imgur.com/a/M8uAi  Some highlights:

PLAYBOY: Tom Hardy plays a Spitfire plane pilot, and his scenes are solo, airborne and sometimes with an oxygen mask covering the bottom half of his face. Having gotten so much blowback from audiences complaining that they couldn’t understand much of Hardy’s dialogue as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, let alone the complaints you got about sound effects and music drowning out the dialogue in Interstellar, are you risking an encore?

NOLAN: It’s always interesting when people take you on about technical issues. It’s completely fair, but people don’t know what goes into the process. Armchair technicians don’t understand that, whether it’s The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar or Dunkirk, I’ve spent eight months listening to every sound, balancing everything incredibly carefully and precisely, modulating it and listening to it in different theaters. […].With Tom on The Dark Knight Rises—I mean, he’s such an extraordinary actor. We spent a lot of time talking about it. He put a lot of work into it, and what he did was fascinating. I had him try a more moderate version of what we were shooting. It didn’t work. The voice is inextricably linked with the character, which for someone whose face you don’t see and whose mouth you don’t see move is pretty amazing. To this day on the dub stage we do that voice all the time.

PLAYBOY: Hardy’s aerial scenes in the Spitfire should, especially for audiences who see Dunkirk in IMAX, pack a punch.

NOLAN: The Spitfire is the most magnificent machine ever built. I got to fly in a two-seater version, and the power in that—there’s just a grin on your face from takeoff to landing. There’s a very immersive quality to the way we’ve done the flying sequences. To be able to give audiences that experience, we needed to have special lenses built, we needed all kinds of technical things to happen. We’ve done things nobody has ever done before, taking actors up in a real plane and shooting real cockpit shots in a large-film format. It was a huge ambition for the film, and my team really pulled it off.

PLAYBOY: Some of the Dunkirk actors seem to be part of some unofficial Christopher Nolan stock company, including Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. On previous movies you’ve worked several times with Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What’s the dynamic between you and actors?

NOLAN: I’ve always loved what they do and have been a good audience for them. I don’t look at a monitor. I’m really paying attention to what they’re doing on the set, just as an audience member. My filmmaking style is very tactile. I do a lot of close-ups, and actors feel a concentration from the camera, as well as from me, on what they’re doing. On Dunkirk, we spent weeks with Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy on this tiny boat with a huge IMAX camera right up in their faces. I had to warn them that IMAX cameras get very loud, but I had to be that close because I’m interested in the minutiae of the performances, trying to capture the layers of all that in a form that’s readable for the audience. Actors recognize that I don’t have the slightest bit of ego or expectation when it comes to performance. I’m not trying to control or puppeteer; I’m trying to give them the space to do something that excites me. If it’s not quite right, I’m trying to help them.


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Tom plans to build his production company into a major international TV drama producer.  ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ  This is real muscling up. :)

NBCUniversal Inks Deal with Tom Hardy’s Production Outfit

by Leo Barraclough | Variety

NBCUniversal Intl. Television Production has inked a two-year first-look pact with Hardy Son & Baker, the production company set up by actor Tom Hardy (“Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception”) and production partner Dean Baker.

JoAnn Alfano, executive VP of scripted programming at NBCU-ITVP, will work with Hardy Son & Baker to develop scripted series intended for the U.S. and international marketplace.

“Tom and Dean are passionate storytellers with a talent for telling original, unconventional stories and attracting first class talent,” said Alfano. “We can’t wait to develop all of their exciting ideas and look forward to sharing their compelling stories with audiences around the world.”

Hardy commented, “NBCUniversal is a great fit for Hardy Son & Baker and this partnership is a fantastic next step in the endeavor to build our company into a major international TV drama producer.”

Baker added, “Tom and I love cinema of the 70s — the films of Scorsese, Coppola, Altman, Kubrick, and it’s clear that modern day television has become the dramatic equivalent of those films. At its best, television with its deeply nuanced characters and complex narratives is, by far, the most exciting and ambitious dramatic medium.”

Hardy Son & Baker was formed in 2012 with the aim of creating sophisticated, high-quality films, TV and documentaries. It produced “Poaching Wars” for ITV, a primetime documentary series starring Hardy, and is also co-producing drama series “Taboo,” with Ridley Scott of Scott Free for the BBC. (x)

Photo: Tom Hardy attending the Millies at the National Maritime Museum, London, December 11, 2013