Why does “Dunkirk” make you feel claustrophobic? In this video essay, I’ll show you how Christopher Nolan’s 2017 movie “Dunkirk” tries to make viewers feel uneasy about the content of the movie, the Dunkirk evacuation during World War 2.
I’ll also show the formal and compositional elements of the movie sync with the movie’s content and story. “Dunkirk” is about going home and the seeming impossibility of making it home. Through its framing and cinematography, the movie makes you feel the tension between wanting to go home but feeling like you probably won’t make it.