In this flashback to the First World War, Jack (Jai Koutrae) cowers in his trench as a shell explodes, showering him with debris and dust and temporarily deafening him.
This brief yet highly effective scene vividly depicts one of the war events responsible for Jack’s present day psychological condition. Crucial to its power is the sound design, which favours a subjective reality. The noise of the explosion is overwhelming and Jack is temporarily deafened. The latter is conveyed via a high-pitched whistle that starts to become noticeable by the fact that Jack’s shouting is barely audible – to us and obviously to him. This audio technique was famously used at greater length in Elem Klimov’s celebrated Russian Second World War film, Come and See (1985).
Visually the scene is equally subjective, giving a sense of what the protagonist is going through and eschewing a spectacle-based approach. This is achieved via the use of close-up, the shaking of the camera, and the rolling clouds of dust that fall around Jack’s head.