Analysis of the Methods Used to Make the Opening Battle Sequence of Saving Private Ryan Shocking and Realistic
Saving Private Ryan was directed by Steven Spielburg and was first
released on the 11th September 1998. The film runs for a total of two
hours and fifty minutes and it won five Academy Awards including one
for the Best Director in 1999. Steven Spielburg has directed many
award winning films such as Jaws in 1975, ET The Extra Terrestrial in
1982 and Minority Report in 2002 as well as Saving Private Ryan in
1998. Some of Saving Private Ryan’s leading actors include Tom Hanks
as Captain Miller and Matt Damon as Private James Ryan. Saving Private
Ryan is about the D-Day invasion killing the third of four brothers so
that only one was left alive. It then goes on to tell us about eight
men’s epic journey trying to save the last Ryan, Private James Ryan.
Saving Private Ryan breaks many of the traditional film conventions.
It shows emotions as well as battles, weapons and deaths. This is
normally left out of war film because it is deemed unnecessary. It
also is very realistic. This was, evidently, Spielburg’s intention
because he said, “I was looking for realism all the time.” I believe
that he was very successful in this cause. Spielburg also used
desaturated colour in this film to give a very thought-provoking
effect. This is especially prominent on the USA flag where red is the
obvious colour. This gives the effect of blood and doom and it is very
dramatic. The film hosts some very realistic battles, which help to
make the film shocking yet realistic. The use of hand held cameras
during the battle scenes help us to understand what the soldiers might
have seen. Steven Spielburg used them because he, “wanted to hit the
sets much like a newsreel cameraman following soldiers into war,” and
he achieved this aim quite successfully.
The effects of the camerawork and soundtrack in Saving Private Ryan
all make it seem more realistic. The opening scene is the transition
from present day to the past in which setting and mood are established
and the main characters are introduced. During this scene an elderly
James Ryan visits the graves of U.S. soldiers at Collesville-Sur-Mer
in Normandy, France. He then Experiences a flashback that transports
the audience to the 6th of June 1944, D-Day, as the U.S. army prepares
to land at Omaha Beach.
Just previously to the flashback the camera slowly zooms in on James
Ryan’s face to a big close up of his eyes. It then cuts to a deep
focus shot of Omaha beach with the iron hedgehogs’ both in the
foreground and stretching into the distance. It swiftly changes to a
long shot of the boats as they approach the shore, ready to attack.
This cuts to a recurrent image, a close-up of Captain Miller’s hand
shaking before cutting to close-up shots of the...