Directed by Christopher Nolan, the 2017 war movie ‘Dunkirk’ is a melancholic ode to the fallacies of war. The film showcases snippets from the Dunkirk evacuation between May 26 and June 4, 1940. As an ensemble war movie, it has no leading figure. The story progresses in three story arcs. One of them follows the journey of Tommy, the sole survivor of a German ambush, from a Frech battle post to the beaches of Dunkirk, to a rescue ship, back to an abandoned trawler.
In another story arc, three British Spitfire aircraft, hoping to aid the rescue process, fly from the shores of Britain. The Fortis Leader goes down in the early moments of the story, while Farrier, Fortis 1, takes the lead. Tom Hardy plays the role with little speech and expression, as we see his face only in the final minutes. However, you may wonder whether Farrier makes it out of the war alive. In that case, let us embark upon a game of deduction. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Does Farrier Die?
Shortly after Farrier kills the first gunner, another gunner emerges from the right side of Fortis 1, and a brawl continues. After a while, Fortis 2 also crashes into the sea, but thankfully Collins, the pilot, emerges unscathed. By fate, Dawson, a sailor not ready to give his boat to the army, and Pete, his son, are in the area with their ship “Moonstone.” While Fortis 1 circles the sky, Farrier is relieved to see Dawson rescuing Collins. However, after the problem, Farrier falls alone – a sole bomber crossing the English channel with not enough fuel at his stride.
In the course of the story, Farrier hovers over Dunkirk, taking down a few more enemy aircraft. The front wheel of his fighter stops right when he sees the shore, but he takes another gunner immobile. In the end, he crash-lands on the shores of what looks like Belgium, and the German enemy captures him. The aircraft sets on fire, leaving any possibility of a return by air. The film is set in the early days of the war, and the speculative progression of Farrier’s life may even give someone the idea of a sequel. In any case, he would be lucky since 145 RAF planes crashed around the shores of Dunkirk in a matter of just nine days.
Let us consider the first case scenario, in which the German forces capture Farrier, and he goes to serve in a German prison camp. By the books, Germany was meant to follow the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Prisoners of War in cases of British and Western Allied Forces Prisoners, and they did. The only issue in the prisoner camps in German-occupied settlements was food shortages in the last days of the war. Although, things were not the same for the Soviet prisoners. Hitler’s logic was straightforward – Soviets did not sign the Geneva Convention, and their soldiers would not get bread. Since Farrier is from the Allied forces, he probably would have spent his time in a German prison till the end of the war.
In the second case scenario, our fallen hero, Farrier, miraculously evades the Germans, teaming up with the British forces for another deadly flight. Farrier’s story arc has similarities with Alan Deere, New Zealand’s most famous pilot in the war. The Dunkirk evacuation was the 22-yeard-old New Zealander’s first job, and he had little to no idea what was waiting for him. In Dunkirk, while supporting the Allied forces on the ground, Al Deere took down six enemy gunners, including a Bf 109 enemy aircraft, becoming the first-ever Spitfire pilot with an aerial victory over the German gunner. After his plane stopped working, he crashed on a beach in Belgium.
He evaded the Germans, found a ride from Belgium, and regrouped with his forces. After Dunkirk, King George VI awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the most prestigious military decorations in the UK. ‘Nine Lives,’ Al Deere’s autobiography, illustrates his decorated career, complete with nine near-death experiences. The Germans gave a valorous title to Al Deere, “the Kiwi we couldn’t kill,” recollects his nephew. However, unlike Al Deere, Tom Hardy’s Farrier gets captured by the enemy militia. But if Farrier can evade the German soldiers, since there are not too many of them, his fate may end up like Al Deere’s.
In any case, there’s a very good chance Farrier would remain alive in either of the above two scenarios.
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