Analysis Of The Film ‘Dunkirk’ Directed By Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan vividly recreated Dunkirk’s events, which saw the British and allies fleeing France’s Northern shores. It was set in 1940 during World War Two. Nolan is best known for his films Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Trilogy (2008), and 2012, but Dunkirk (2017) also showcases Nolan’s distinctive style. Nolan managed to keep the film very silent with only a few words. Nolan’s musically precise timings, and beats (Nolan 2018), help to create the feeling of surprise. This story is set directly on the blood-stained beaches of France and the English Channel. The narrative depicts the bravery and fear of soldiers fighting in an era of constant instability. The Dunkirk survival story, told in cinematic style and with overlapping storieslines, was unique. It was an incredibly frightening time in history, as the end of the Great Depression brought about a new global war on a scale never seen before. The new generation was unaware of the technological advances and increased enemy numbers that were made possible by World War One. The unpredictable tides created chaos and instabilities, as was demonstrated in Dunkirk. Nolan’s use camera motion creates an atmosphere that places the audience in every shot. Tracking shots that allow humans to move, such as those used to follow Commander Bolton around the mole, give the illusion of realism. The Destroyer’s interior, which was jammed with soldiers, was filmed from other perspectives. “The camera work was entirely handheld. The camera moves through crowds shifting, diving, ducking and shifting as it goes.” It provided an audience with a view through the eyes that of another insider. The constant action from planes dropping from the sky to ships being torpedoed to ships being torpedoed was able bring the chaos closer home and symbolize the fragility that war. Nolan creates tension throughout the film without relying on plot. Instead, the storylines flow into each other. It all comes down the expectation of what’s coming. Nolan does this a lot, especially when Nolan notices that a ‘Heinkel’ is approaching, and she lines up to dump her load on a minesweeper. Christopher Nolan’s innovative camera techniques allowed him to show the instabilities of war. Nolan managed to keep the room on their feet with the horrific acts of enemy fire. One scene in the film that follows pilot Farrier is loud and heavy. It has a non-diegetic, non-diegetic beat. As the film ends, you will be watching with anticipation as Farrier lands on the beach. The long scene gave you a deeper understanding of the fear involved in war and the sacrifices that were made. The audience can see the brutal fear in Dunkirk through the close-ups of their faces and expressions. Dunkirk was unique in that it did not focus heavily on any of the protagonists but rather the moments they were being in. This allowed for a more profound understanding of the loss of soldiers at war. Because of his deliberate limitation on characterisation, Dunkirk’s evacuation could be seen through many eyes. Nolan believed that backstory or a character-based plot would make it impossible to know the facts about Dunkirk. Nolan’s unique methods brought fear and the strong emotion it evoked to the audience while they were watching Dunkirk. In the absence of combat, there is no other example of true heroism than soldiers who fight for their country and their fellow citizens. Nolan demonstrated bravery and the difficulty of portraying the Dunkirk events. Nolan’s portrayal of civilians who helped evacuate British soldiers was a refreshing view on bravery. There was a crisis with a rapidly approaching Nazi army, ‘four hundred million men stranded along the beach’ and needed to be resolved. But, it would be difficult for this historical event to be resolved as ‘Churchil [only] had plans for] thirty thousand’ men to make their way home. Although the evacuation was not in accordance with the plan, it was possible to do something for the stranded. This was done by the civilian army. Dawson was in a position to be able to use the camera angle that captured oil-slick soldiers. His heroic acts of sacrifice, including his journey to Dunkirk following the British Navy’s request for civilian boats, were a heroism for his country. Nolan used characters and not character building to show bravery. There were no character arcs. Instead, the heroic acts displayed by the men or women through visuals. The heroes of the men and women were shown through visuals and acts of appreciation, with no character arcs. This was the greatest loss of human life, with more than 60 million people dying between 1939 and 1945. The constant fear of the ‘enemy coming through’ and the changing pace, Nolan represented both victory and defeat. It relied heavily on mise en scene to show the enormous ‘power, might,’ at the front of World War II. Nolan used neutral colours such as army greens, navy blues, and sand tans to show the destitute conditions and invite the audience to become part of his creation. The uniforms, warships and aircraft, as well as the weaponry, revealed the story and location. Conversations also assisted in this process. Nolan relied almost exclusively on sound and visuals to convey the war genre, as well as a crisis or resolution. The film was influenced by music, which played a major role. The effect is achieved through overlaying sound that is one octave lower than the previous. This trick tricks the brain into thinking there is an ascending tone. Hans Zimmer’s score…with a sound that tickled, made the ever-present incoming artillery from the West more powerful and compelling. The sound used to’make you cling your seat’ was used to depict the enemy approaching, always anticipating the danger. These methods combined made Dunkirk an emotive, strong war film that gave a better understanding of the real Dunkirk. Christoper Nolan recreated the dramatic Dunkirk events and successfully demonstrated their power. Nolan’s new Take on Structure based On the Shepard Tone’ was able capturing and creating a unique film about war. With his realistic cinematography as well as non-traditional storytelling, Nolan captured the fear of insurgent soldiers and their bravery.


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    Tenley Lancaster is a 34-year-old educational blogger and student. She enjoys writing about topics related to education, including but not limited to student motivation, learning styles, and effective study techniques. Tenley has also written for various websites and magazines, and is currently working on her first book. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.