- Describe at least one important event in the text. Explain how this event had a positive OR negative effect.
Dunkirk is a 2017 film directed by Christopher Nolan about the Dunkirk evacuation One important event in this film was Farrier’s decision to not turn around and go back to England and make it home but to fight the German bomber and give air defence to the ground troops.
The Dunkirk evacuation is when the British were trying to evacuate their troops from Dunkirk beach in France while the Germans were advancing towards the British and French but they weren’t having much luck with the German U-boats and bombers sinking their big destroyers so than English parents in civilian boats came to Dunkirk and rescued the stranded soldiers. Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk focuses on 3 main aspects. The land, The air and the Sea with the Land focuses on the theme of Survival with English soldiers and French soldiers Tommy, Gibson and Alex trying to survive on the beach and get out of Dunkirk. And with the Sea focusing on the silent heroism of George a young school and Mr Dawson and his son who are sailing to Dunkirk in their small civilian boat. And the Air focuses on the whole theme of self-sacrifice and heroism with Farrier’s decision. The air and Farrier’s decision is what I’ll be focusing on in this essay.
The important decision in Christopher Nolans Dunkirk is when Farrier one of the RAF pilots who are the only one to not get shot down and does not have enough fuel to make it back if he turns around to give air support to all the troops and boats from the german Suka dive-bombers and german airforce him making this desition changed the outcome on many allied forces lives and his own life. Nolan makes this decision or scene very tense with Shepard’s tone and the camera angles he used. With Farriers scenes, Christopher Nolan uses the sound of a ticking watch in his scenes to signify that time is running out for Farrier and that he doesn’t have long left because as they have stated before they only have enough fuel to fly and fight for one hour so the ticking watch added suspense to those words of how time is running out Farrier also doesn’t know exactly how much fuel he has left because in an earlier attack he gets shot at and it breaks his fuel gauge. So Nolan used a lot of close-up shots of Farrier’s broken fuel gauge and the chalk he has used in his mathematical equation on how much fuel he has left with the ticking watch to add to the whole theme that time is running out for him.
Farrier is linked to the theme of self-sacrifice with him deciding to turn around and destroy that bomber to protect the minesweeper carrying soldiers to get home. As Farrier does this we can see that he was very distraught about making this decision to either save himself and get home for the next battle and leave the bomber to destroy the ship and leave no air cover on the beach from the Suka Dive bombers where they will surely destroy all the ships trying to get the soldiers out and where the troops on the beaches will get blown up. So he has to make a very tough decision either save himself. We see a close-up shot of his face with the fighting helmet and with this, we can only see his eyes but we can still tell he is torn apart between these two desitions Nolan does these close-up claustrophobic shots with Farrier to build tension with the theme and with Hans Zimmers Sheapeard tone it builds tension with it and makes it seem like it is a key part in this film.
In the next scene, we have a close-up of the commanding officer’s face as he’s standing on the pier looking up at the sky while we see this we can also hear the non-diegetic sound of the dive-bombers sirens go off but then Farrier comes flying over Dunkirk beach with diagetic heroic music and shoots down the dive bomber. But Farrier is on very low fuel and Farrier knows that he will definitely not be able to fly home now all he can hope for is to stay up longer to support the ground troops with air cover and have a safe landing. We see the main theme of The Air in this scene which is through self-sacrifice through Farrier’s decision here because Farrier knows that he will not be able to make it back to England.
Now in the last scene we see Farrier he is chasing down a German aircraft over Dunkirk Beach but as he’s going so we get an extreme close-up shot of Farrier’s fuel gauge as he Sputters out of fuel and then as he turns on his reserve fuel tank we then see him shoot down the plane in a heroic way with every one of the beach cheering for him. But then as he does that he runs out of fuel and he starts gliding in his plane and all the cheering of the crowd drowns out Christopher Nolan uses this technique of all the sound muffled to create a scene of calmness in Farrier’s decision as if Farrier has come to terms of not making it back to England and that Farrier is at peace with that and that Farrier knows that his sacrifice was for something.
Christopher Nolan has shown us that Farrier’s decision was for the greater good and that without it then hundreds of soldiers would have died and with Farrier’s self-sacrificing decision the British would have gotten much fewer troops of Dunkirk beach Farrier has lived up to the whole Hollywood definition of a hero in the end