One of the reasons put forward for Hitler not ordering an attack was that he believed that Britain had suffered from the might of the Wehrmacht once and that this experience would be sufficient for Britain to come to peace terms with Hitler. The total destruction of the British Expeditionary Force might have created such a climate of revenge in Britain that our involvement would be prolonged. That is one idea put forward for why Hitler did not order a full-scale attack on the beaches of Dunkirk – however, we will never know the true reason.
It is getting rarer for a genius like Nolan to be given substantial sums of money to put their vision on the screen. Instead, the substantial sums go to "franchise films". The pursuit of blockbuster movies is becoming less of an act of creation, and more an exercise in brand management. Franchises generate box-office revenue, merchandising revenue and what economists call option value: Furious 7 does not simply bring ticket revenue for the studio, but also the ability to make more revenue through Fast and Furious episodes 8, 9, 10 and onward to The Fast and the Furious 987 .
The field is now a memorial, with a mound you can climb, trees donated by the Queen, and a reconstituted barn festooned with poppy wreaths and crosses. I returned to the beach at Dunkirk. At the Bistrot de la Plage, I sat quite near where Nolan and his family had dined, and ordered a pre-meal scotch. “Dunkirk spirit,” I grinned at the waitress, who’d clearly heard that one before. Beyond the window were joggers, strollers and dog-walkers and, beyond them, the sands stretched to the sea with an intimate promise of infinity. Then the sea-bream and chablis arrived, and that, I’m afraid, was that.