Dunkirk practise essay feedback please :)


“Dunkirk”, written and directed by Christopher Nolan is based on a true story. The movie is based on the escape of the British and French armies during the second world war, over 400,00 soldiers are trapped in a small town in the french coastal village called Dunkirk. The movie is shown in three different time stages and three different environments, the land for one week, the sea for one day, and the air for one hour. Each different time and place shows a different perspective and allows the audience to understand the movie and its context better. Throughout the movie, we watch as characters make life-changing decisions that alter their path in trying to escape. One most notable is the decision that was made by Lieutenant farrier. Farrier is one of the three spitfire pilots who are trying to stop the heavy enemy artillery from continuing to rain fire on the escaping allies. During an air battle, Farrier’s fuel gauge is damaged and he is unable to read how much fuel he has in his tank. Farrier is met with a huge decision, does he fly back to safety, or continue and risk his life to save thousands? He decides to risk his life and this makes a massive impact on the film. Throughout the film, we watch as his decision makes a positive outcome on the events that unfold at Dunkirk.

Nolan created this movie to give people an insight into the silent heroism that took place at this time. We can recognise the decisions made by the characters and the effects it has on the audience’s emotions and understanding of this particular film. The effect of this decision made by Farrier is a key part of this film.

During an air battle or also known as a dogfight, Farrier is shot at by an enemy German fighter pilot and damage is done to his plane. He is now unable to read his fuel gauge which is a vital key to making sure that he has enough fuel to return home safely. To figure out an estimate of his fuel Farrier can use the fuel gauge of another British pilot, Collins, however a turn of events causes Collins to crash, and now Farrier has no idea of his fuel. Soon after, he is met with an impactful decision. Should he save the thousands of soldiers from enemy planes or use the last of his gas to return home? He chooses to save the escaping men, but this means he has given his life to save. He is a hero for this decision. Farrier successfully stops the deaths of many men by shooting down incoming enemy planes. The decision that is made impacts the film immensely because he has shown the audience what a true hero looks like. Farrier in the movie is represented as a hero because of this event that has taken place, without him, many men would have died, and the miracle that the escape of Dunkirk was, would have never happened. Farrier is also a representation of the heroes that the real event presented. Many ordinary civilians who helped the British and French in the escape were silent heroes who were willing to risk their own lives to protect those of others. The silent hero is the greatest because they aren’t doing these incredible things for the credit, but instead just doing it for others and these heroes are truly selfless. This heroism, however, does not go unappreciated. Nolan does a great job of showing what these heroes did in the form of farrier. Farrier’s decision to save the soldiers gives the audience a glimpse of what took place at the real events. We can also link this event to the real world. In many different places and situations, everyday heroes are doing amazing things for the lives of others. We can see people like this in the current wars that are taking place, like the war in Ukraine. There we witness true heroes doing something extraordinary for others.

The event that took place when Farrier made his massive decision was very effective in both audience’s eyes and also the plot of the movie. Farrier’s decision made an impact on the character’s survival because he stopped the thousands of deaths. In “Dunkirk” one of the main themes is survival and without Farrier’s decision, this theme would not be prevalent. This would mean that Nolan could not get the idea in the audience’s heads about the survival of Dunkirk, this could mean that they would not be able to recognise this in the actual event that took place and is told a completely different story. The characters’ survival was a key element in displaying this theme, so Nolan must have made sure that they were put in events in which they could. Without farrier, we would have not seen the survival of many main characters like Tommy and Alex, two characters who represent the theme of survival. Another theme that is prevalent in the movie is heroism, this theme is represented by farrier. This is another key factor in the movie because this theme plays a massive role in making the audience understand the importance of the heroism that took place. Without this decision that Farrier made, he would have not been seen as a hero, meaning that another theme could not be displayed to the audience, Once again meaning that the audience would have not understood some of the major themes in the movie and the real event. All these themes play such a massive role in the movie and they are so prevalent. There are many reasons for this, but Farrier’s decision plays a key part in the creation of both these themes majorly because Farrier’s decision caused other events to take place, which meant that the themes could be displayed heavier. This is great for the audience because they can watch the movie and recognise the themes easier.

In “Dunkirk” The audience has learned about how Farrier’s decision is a key part of the movie that has a positive effect on both the character’s eyes and the audience. Without this event, the movie would have been extremely different. Without these events, the movie would have not been able to correctly represent key themes and be able to give the audience an idea of what happened at Dunkirk. The event that took place had a major positive effect on the entire movie and helped people understand some key themes better. This means that Nolan has made a movie with an impact. This is good because the impact means that people can learn something from this visual text and recognise similar events in real-life situations. Farrier’s decision is such a key event because he represents what a hero looks like and how his decision made a positive impact on the movie. From his actions, we can realise that heroic acts like this happen everywhere. They may not be a life-altering decision, but a simple decision like helping someone out that needs it or giving money to a charity. Farrier’s decision is an extreme version of a positive impact, however, it gives the audience this great idea about heroes and what they do for others. Viewers of this movie can use these events and apply them when faced with an everyday decision. This means that the movie has made an incredible impact on people’s everyday life.

In conclusion, Dunkirk does an incredible job of showing the impacts a key event has on the movie and the message behind the movie. Without the event that took place, there would have felt like something was missing from the film because audiences watch many different movies like superhero movies where the hero never dies and still saves everyone, however in Dunkirk, we are not met with this expectation. At the end of the movie, we watch as Fairer is met with the enemy, and is escorted away. The audience does not see what happens and is left to guess, but many believe that he is killed. “Dunkirk’ ’ ending is refreshing because it is doing something out of the ordinary compared to other films. This makes “Dunkirk ‘’ a better movie because we watch a realistic outcome of an event instead of an outcome that wouldn’t happen in an event like this. Even though it ends on a dark note, Farrier’s decision made a positive impact on the entire movie and without it, the movie would have lacked so many key elements that make it what it is. It is so important for people to watch this movie and understand the themes that the event displays so that they can apply them in everyday life.

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You have a lot of plot in your introduction which you don’t need, but you have a clear response to the question which is what we do want. I also like that you’ve got the director’s purpose hit on straight away in that second paragraph.

You’ve clearly got a fantastic understanding of the plot of the movie, but you’re missing one important thing: film techniques! For these essays you need to explore the director’s use of film techniques to convey these things. For example, what camera shots were used as Nolan shows us Farrier is unable to read his fuel gauge? How does the use of that technique make the viewer feel? Does it create anxiety for us, build tension?

One other thing to consider is how balanced your response to the question is. Do you mention the positive impact in each body paragraph or is it only in your introduction and conclusion. A strong response has an even answer to both parts of the essay question.