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Dunkirk essay christopher nolan

In the film “Dunkirk” Christopher Nolan uses many film techniques to make the audience feel emotion while they are watching the film, These emotions being tension and anxiety Christopher Nolan pulls this off by adding a ticking of a watch and shepard tone. A good example of this is the scene where Farrier - a Spitfire pilot - has to decide his life or hundreds of thousand soldiers.

Christopher Nolan uses effective verbal and non verbal in this scene Farrier decides to go to Dunkirk beach knowing his fuel will run out and leave him stranded. He adds such a surreal feeling to the scene because he added shepherd tone, imagery and nondiegetic sound to create emotional tension in the audience. There is a theme of self sacrifice in this scene because he has decided to keep flying his spitfire even though it will run out of fuel and Farrier won’t be able to get home.

The film ‘Dunkirk’ is based on WW2 in 1940, Dunkirk is a small island on the coast of France, Which was a scene of a massive military campaign during world war two. The Dunkirk evacuation was so important for the allies because if the British soldiers got captured and killed, it would have been the loss of Britain’s only trained troops and the collapse of the allied cause.

This scene, Farrier (spitfire pilot) is in the middle of the ocean in wide open spaces with no land anywhere, no other soldiers with him; he was alone in the middle of the ocean. He had no one to help battle he had to fight on his own all his crew in the other spitfires got shot down, This adds tension and anxiety because he is the only one left to defend the British in such a wide open space.

In the background the viewer can hear non-diegetic sounds of shepherd tone, shepard tone adds a feeling of constant swelling which can build tension or suspense, this was created by Hans Zimmer, which successfully created tension in the audience as Farrier makes the decision of sacrificing himself for the safety of his team. Farrier makes this choice knowing that he will not make it back home to his family.

In the background of this scene of Farrier there is a ticking type of noise which adds a layer of adrenaline because it symbolises that time is running out, Farrier has a limited amount of time to make such a big decision and it adds the effect with a close up of his face as he’s trying to decide. Decide for his faith or the fate of other people, does he be selfish and go home, or is he a hero and continues on even if it means he won’t escape.

There is a close up on Farriers fuel gauge showing that it had been damaged during combate with another spitfire, this adds a constant wondering on how much fuel is actually left in his tank, He has to write in marker beside the broken gauge how much is really left. Alongside the close up of the broken fuel gauge there was a close up on his face you couldn’t see much of his face past his flight gear but you can see in his eyes he is trying to decide what is the best option, there’s so much going on in his head whether to turn around while he has enough fuel or keep going and not make it back home. They are limited on time.

Tension is built in the audience during this scene by adding a feeling of constant rising and falling with shepard tone and a ticking of a watch symbolising times nearly out for farrier, The close up on his face shows he is heavily thinking about what to do and his next decision plays a part in his future on if he has one or if he dies, The audience can see there is concentration and fear across his face, The close up of his broke fuel gauge shows Farrier doesn’t even know when he will run out of fuel and crash land.

Kia ora - I remember from the last post that your question was “Analyse how film techniques were used to make you feel emotion.” - so I will respond accordingly to that.

Ok - you set up your question in your intro - you have two intro paragraphs that kind of repeat some of the same ideas - I would merge these into one solid introduction.

In general your structure is a bit jumpy - generally the easiest way to structure it is to do one introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion - many of these could be merged into a singular paragraph - for example you could combine together the paras starting “in the background of this scene of Farrier” and “There is a close up on” - by putting these together, you can talk about how these techniques work together to create tension.

You have some good techniques in this scene and are clear about emotion at the beginning, although you stop talking about it as you go. I would advise you to perhaps consider including discussion of another scene, as the focus on just this one means you are a bit limited in terms of what you can say about the creation of the emotion - if the question asks about a beginning scene, or a turning point, then it is appropriate to focus on one scene, but this essay would immediately be stronger if for example, you then talk about how that tension was released in another scene (inducing relief in the audience) - as this would show better understanding of the text as a whole and how the writer DEVELOPS this emotion trough clever use of film techniques.

Hope that helps :slight_smile: