Question - Describe at least one important event in the text.
Explain how this event had a positive OR negative effect.
Acts of heroism can be simple. They are not always shooting guns and playing superman. Christopher Nolan makes this known during his 2017 film ‘Dunkirk’. This film is a fast paced film, helping to build tension within the audience. With the help of Hanz Zimmer, Christopher Nolan uses Shepard tone as a technique to create tension.
This film is split up into THREE different times, 1 hour (in the air), 1 day (on the sea), and 1 week (on land).
The movie ‘Dunkirk’ has been based around the real life evacuation of Dunkirk beach in 1940, lasting around a week. The Evacuation of Dunkirk was the evacuation of 338,000 British allied soldiers off of Dunkirk beach, just north of France. British civilians played a huge part in this evacuation all sailing towards the beach with the help of the navy (marines), eventually saving many of the British soldiers.
Christopher shows heroism through many different characters, Farrier (a Spitfire pilot), commander Bolton (highest ranking member, trying his best to save his men), and Mr. Dawson (a civilian doing amazing acts to save the soldiers). The most memorable moment was when Farrier chose to risk his life to save many other men. Farrier while flying the spitfire realized his fuel gauge was cracked; he couldn’t exactly see how much fuel he had. He had been relying on his other comrades flying spitfires next to him. Once they had been taken down he had to work out how far he would be able to fly with the fuel he had left. He only had enough to get home. This is where he chose to risk his life and use the fuel left to get home to supply air coverage to the soldiers stuck on land.
Nolan covered most of Farrier’s face throughout this film. This is very effective as we cannot see his facial expressions. We can only see his eyes, creating tension in the sense we don’t know exactly what he looks like and the faces he makes but have a fairly good idea of the internal conflict going on inside his mind. During Farrier’s decision you can see the conflict in his mind, whether he is going to choose self sacrifice or not. This is really noticeable during this time in age where we have to live in covid-19 masks, each and everyone of us can see what’s going on in his mind just through his eyes. Another way Nolan creates tension is through his Shepard tone; this is a simple sound in the background composed by Hanz Zimmer. Shepard tone is made up of 3 descending notes, 2 playing at any time creating the illusion that it is sped up. This helps to show the audience that time is running out. Paired up with a ticking watch that also speeds up with time running out creating a very known sense that the character doesn’t have very much time left.
Christopher Nolan has used many different camera angles to show the scene as a way to create suspense. Nolan uses closeups of the fuel gauge, this shows the lack of fuel left but can also show how Farrier doesn’t know how much he has left because of the cracked glass. Nolan uses a close up on Farrier’s watch to create tension in the sense Farrier knows he doesn’t have too long left time wise. Nolan also uses a close up on Farrier’s face, mainly his eyes. This is so the audience can notice the fact we can only see his eyes. His eyes tell the audience that he knows what he has to choose and that he is completely alright with the decision he has made.
Christopher Nolan has made multiple heroic characters to show heroism in different ways. He has done this to show the world that there are different types of heroes. To create a sense of involvement. Anyone can be a hero by participating whether it’s by Sacrificing yourself for others or just being a part like the civilians. Farrier is a pretty good example of this as he sacrificed himself to help the other soldiers. Farrier is the real hero in this film.