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Could I get some feedback on my 'Dunkirk' Essay?

Question: Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the text.
Explain how this change was important to the text as a whole.

Directors use intense incident’s in their films to build tension and to keep the audience engaged. Christopher Nolan’s film ‘Dunkirk’ uses the scene of ‘Farrier’s Decision’ to engage the audience and to build interest in the film. The scene of Farrier’s decision is definitely the most important scene in the film with the theme of Self Sacrifice being expressed mostly in the movie. Farrier makes the decision to provide cover over the Dunkirk evacuations stead of turning back home knowing if he stays over Dunkirk, he will run out of fuel. Nolan uses the key film techniques of Shepard tone and the ticking of the watch to build the tension in this important scene that when we look at the bigger picture, the world would not be the same if Farrier didn’t do what he did.

The Dunkirk evacuation was the evacuation of British soldiers during World War ll from the harbour and the beaches in the north of France. Over 300,000 soldiers went to war at Dunkirk and risked their lives for the rest of mankind. Around 15,000 men died at the beaches of Dunkirk. Although this number is large, over 100,000 men were saved and rescued from Dunkirk by civilians who voluntarily crossed the English Chanel to bring the soldiers home.

In the ‘Farrier’s Decision’ scene, Flight Luetienant Farrier decides to provide air cover support over the Dunkirk evacuation on the beaches. Earlier in the film, we see a close-up camera shot of the broken fuel gauge and a close-up shot of Farrier’s worried eyes. From these camera shots, we can infer that time is running out for Farrier. He has to make an important decision. To save the lives of other men or himself. Nolan uses the film technique of close up camera shots to really capture the mood and feeling of what the characters were feeling. Farrier is portrayed as the traditional hero character of the film. He represents the theme of Self Sacrifice tremendously right till the end of the film when he gets captured by German soldiers on the beach. Farrier insists on climbing 2,000 feet higher in the high to avoid any German planes on the way to the beach. Collin’s (another spitfire pilot) warns Farrier that doing this would take more fuel, but Farrier is confident that it is the right plan of action. Soonly after, Collin’s gets shot down by a German plane but Farrier is determined to carry on to the beaches. Farrier shows perseverance and determination for continuing onto Dunkirk.

Nolan uses another film technique of sound using Shepard tone and the ticking of the watch to build tension throughout the film, especially in this scene. Shepard tone is a tri-tone auditory illusion of scales that goes on and on in a loop that tricks the brain into hearing a perceiving ascending tone, therefore creating the sound of rising tension. As the film goes on, the ticking clock gets louder and louder as the tension of the film increases. This technique of sound is used to keep the audience engaged. The composer, Hanz Zimmer, used the Shepard tone extensively in the Dunkirk score and it is also found in many of Christopher Nolan’s other films like the two Dark Knight films and the music found in The Prestige. Nolan’s films are often all about time and how it warps up in everything we see and do. This illusion makes the tension higher and keeps us, the audience, excited and on the edge of our seats. This sound technique makes the Farrier Scene more edgy and exciting. It makes it seem like ‘Farrier’s decision is a lot more important than it is perceived to be in the film.
Flight Leader Farrier is the traditional hero character in Dunkirk. In the timeline The Air: 1 hour, we see a close up of the broken fuel gauge and Farrier’s watch. At this moment, the ticking watch sound gets louder indicating that time is running out for him. Farrier makes a deliberate decision to help cover the evacuation at Dunkirk, knowing that he’ll run out of fuel and either crashland or get captured by the German’s. Farrier demonstrates the theme of Self Sacrifice as he sacrifices his own life for thousands of men on the beach. When Farrier runs out of fuel, Nolan uses the sound technique of silence (watch stops ticking) as Farrier’s spitfire glides over Dunkirk. It is as if time has stopped for all of them. Time has run out. But, there was one last job to do, Farrier shoots down the last Stuka dive bomber before it kills Bolten (Noval Officer in charge of evacuations) and many others. The setting sun in this scene is symbolic of defeat, this is not the end because of heroes like Farrier.

Farrier’s decision in the film is so important to the text as a whole because it changes the way the film would end. If Farrier did not provide air support over Dunkirk, then the enemy plane would have bombed the evacuations and killed hundreds of men. Since Farrier had the courage to continue on his journey even though he knew it would not end well for him, he saved hundreds of people from dying on the beaches. In the real world, if the real world Farrier didn’t shoot at the enemy plane, hundreds of real people with families would have died. Farrier’s decision helped me understand the theme of Self Sacrifice better and helped me understand the point of the film Dunkirk.

Kia ora

Good hook for your opening - do make sure you set up ALL parts of the question in your intro- it is a little unclear as to how this incident “changes the course of events” in the film

Some excellent discussion of techniques - your understanding of the scene itself is great and your description is very clear

However you need to explain a lot more about the "changes the course of events’ - how did this one scene affect say, a character, or foreshadow or lead to an event that happened later on? Think of HOW this scene might be a turning point in the film and explain - you sort of do this in the conclusion but it should be discussed a lot more throughout. Additionally, try to actually use the key words as you write - EG “changes the course of events because” and “important to the text as a whole because…”(maybe because it helps us understand the themes of self sacrifice).

I suggest having a go with another question and aim to discuss the describe and explain parts of the question with balance :slight_smile:

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