Could I please have feedback on my Dunkirk essay? Cheers

Question 2: describe visual/verbal features used in a visual/oral text you have studied. Explain how these features contributed to the text as a whole.

Survival is a man’s main priority at war. Christopher Nolan’s highly successful film ‘Dunkirk,’ is an historical true event which recognises to the audience the significant heroism and self sacrifice a part of Dunkirk evacuation. Christopher Nolan uses specific film techniques all through Dunkirk. Techniques such as The Shepard Tone, ticking of the watch, and camera shots. This is to represent a rising tension and anxiety in the audience that the time is running out. In various films directed by Nolan utilises these techniques, including his 2008 film ‘The Dark Knight’. This film recognises three different timeline perspectives during the evacuation, The Land (1 week,) The Sea (1 day,) and The Air (1 hour).

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ was filmed in the exact location of the evacuation. At the time, this evacuation was codenamed “Operation Dynamo.” The year is the 1940s, just off the North of France Dunkirk evacuation was an accomplished escape of over 300,000 British and allied soldiers trapped on the beach of Dunkirk during World War II. During World War II, many of the German soldiers had invaded France to the point where they could no longer defend their land. And so the British soldiers approached the situation to help, but they became trapped on Dunkirk beach. Without the significant importance of Operation Dynamo, our world would never be the way it is today.

Numerous verbal and visual film techniques had been identified during the film of Dunkirk. Verbal techniques such as the ticking watch or The Shepard Tone. And visual techniques including camera shots. Both of these film techniques play a major role in the film from the beginning, to the moment they are evacuated from Dunkirk. Nolan uses his film techniques wisely as it is a prime example and understanding that the characters are running out of time.

One particular verbal technique used by Nolan is The Shepard Tone. The Shepard Tone is known as a non diegetic sound. A non diegetic sound is when the audience can hear it, but the characters cannot. An opposite of this is called a diegetic sound, when the characters can hear the sound. The Shepard Tone created by Hans Zimmer consists of 3 pitches and each octave apart. The middle pitch stays the same, the higher pitch fades out while the lower pitch also fades out. When all pitches are played together it gives off a sound of panic and stress which triggers our brain into thinking the sound effect is getting higher, but it isn’t. Nolan takes an extreme advantage of this film technique as it builds a rising tension, and a constant anxiety for the audience that they are running out of time to be able to survive.

Another verbal technique recognised in Dunkirk is the ticking watch. It is used all throughout the film up until the very moment that they have successfully evacuated Dunkirk beach. The ticking watch also symbolises that the time is running out. Time is one of Nolan’s signature techniques, and is shown how time is handled in his films. He uses this to create tension and anxiety in the audience that the characters are rushing to survive the evacuation.

Christopher Nolan uses more than just verbal film techniques, he also uses visuals. An example of this is the camera shot extreme close up, which is identified in the scene of Farriers important decision. Lieutenant Farrier is a spitfire pilot; who was sent to provide air coverage in the timeline The Air. In this scene he realises has only enough fuel to go home and save himself, or to turn back and fight the combat. During this scene, the camera shot used is extreme close up on his fuel gauge, which shows he hasn’t got much fuel left. This is where it leads to Farrier having to make the important decision. The ticking watch and Shepard Tone are also used during this scene. This is because Farrier is now running out of time and it is building a rising tension in the audience that he may not survive.

To summarise, Christopher Nolan uses many verbal and visual film techniques in his film Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan uses verbal techniques such as The Shepard Tone and the ticking watch. These techniques are significant in the film because they let the audience know that the characters are being rushed and are running out of time. Nolan also uses visual techniques including camera shots. In one major scene during Dunkirk, Lieutenant Farrier finds out he has enough fuel to go home or save others. Nolan uses the film shot extreme close up on his fuel gauge to show he is low on fuel and running out of time.

Kia ora handsanitiser - welcome to Studyit!

Nice opening and some strong foreshadowing of what you will be talking about. To improve, I would suggest just adding some explanation of how you will be attacking the “explain” part of the question - These features contribute to the text as a whole because…"

Throughout the rest of the essay you have some good discussion of all the techniques and are using the director’s name a lot which is great.

The key thing you will need to do to improve is make sure you are addressing both parts of the question “with balance” - you really only explicitly touch on how the features contribute to the text as a whole in your conclusion with “These techniques are significant in the film because they let the audience know that the characters are being rushed and are running out of time.” - ideally you would be analyzing and explaining this really explicitly in each paragraph.

I suggest going away and doing this and then resubmitting it to see what a difference it makes!

Well done - keep at it :slight_smile: