- Describe visual/verbal features used in a visual/oral text you have studied. Explain how these features contributed to the text as a whole.
‘Dunkirk’ directed by Christopher Nolan. A real life film about World War II. This film is set in France on a beach in a small town called Dunkirk. In this film the British go against Germany, their opposition in the 1940s. Nolan builds tension, anxiety and suspense throughout this film by using film and sound techniques such as a sound technique shepard tone, a non diegetic sound where the ticking never stops so the audience doesn’t know what is going to happen next. He also uses different camera techniques like close ups, panoramas and far away shots. He does this to emphasise the scene.
During World War II soldiers from the British Empire, Belgium, and France attempted to flee the town of Dunkirk. The French tried to defend their land but it was unsuccessful so the British came in as allies to try and help but were also unsuccessful.
Nolan uses close up shots to build tension throughout this film a significant scene he does this in is when Farrier had to make his decision, Nolan was doing close ups of his fuel gauge and his face. He used this visual technique to create tension and suspense for the audience. Farrier’s decision represents the theme of self sacrifice. The close ups that Nolan used in this scene was of Farriers fuel gauge he did this because it was broken, and it was running low and by using this technique it emphasised what was happening. It also built suspense for the audience because they didn’t know what was going to happen next.
Shepard tone, a non-diegetic sound, is a verbal technique used by Nolan throughout the entire movie. The sound Shepard tone is non diegetic which means that the audience, not the characters, can hear it because it is being played in the background. Throughout the entire movie, Nolan included both loud and soft tones of Shepard tone. The scene was more action-packed and suspenseful when the shepard tone was stronger, but when it was quiet, the scene was calm. The shepard tone played throughout the entire movie, but Nolan adjusted the loudness in accordance with certain scenes. He did this to highlight certain scenes and give the audience a sense of what the scene was like.
Another verbal feature used by Nolan throughout this film is the ticking watch, this is to create tension. Nolan includes this to demonstrate that there is a race against time. The characters are in a race against time because they don’t have much time to fight throughout the entire movie. This is emphasised by the ticking watch, which also shows the audience how frantic the film is. Since only the audience can hear the ticking watch because it is a non-diegetic sound, there is tension because the audience is unsure of what will happen next or when the scene will end. The characters in the movie are always racing against the clock, and the ticking watch indicates that they are unsure of when the race will be over.
In conclusion the effects that Nolan uses in this movie helps the audience understand the tension that is occurring in the movie. Without these key elements, the movie would not have been successful because the audience would not be able to pick up on the major themes that these techniques are portraying. The camera shots and sounds used make the audience see the race against time that is occurring in the characters lives, they must escape to safety. This use of techniques makes this movie.