Analysis Of The Opening Battle Sequence In The Film Saving Private Ryan

937 words - 4 pages

Wartime adventure film, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ was first released in 1998 by ‘Paramount’ and ‘Dreamworks’ Pictures. It internationally achieved a long lasting effect as it became the winner of five academy awards and five Oscars; the film won these awards because the first 24minuites captured people’s imagination and interest. It tells the story of a squad of American soldiers led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) on a dangerous mission to find ‘Private James Ryan’ whose three brothers have already been killed in the D-day landings.
The film stars many famous faces like Tom Sizemore (Sergeant Horvath), Edward Burns (Private Reiben) and Matt Damon (Private Ryan). The director, Steven Spielberg truly wanted to make the film and battle scenes as realistic as possible. His goal was to make the audience and critics realise the reality of how terrifying the Wars really were.
He achieved this by developing emotional attachment with many American soldiers, and by the use of brilliant mise en scène. The film also broke some traditional film conventions of the war film genre by doing them.

This circular movie begins at a graveyard in Normandy, France; we know this because there is an extreme close up on a French flag. Also an aged man (Private Ryan) and his family are established as American though a close up on an American flag. They walk towards a grave, and the distressed man swiftly falls to his knees, the use of the camera is very useful here as we zoom in on Private Ryan’s glazed eyes he has what seems to be a flashback. At this point the colour changes significantly from bright and colourful to saturated and dull; also the non-diegetic sound of waves that begins during a close up on Private Ryan, turns to diegetic as the scene of Omaha beach is introduced; it is introduced with a extreme long shot, to show the enormity and scale of the D-Day landings. This is where the handheld camera becomes especially effective, because it makes you feel like your involved and onboard the landing craft.
Close ups on troop’s faces and features let you see genuine fear in their eyes, and their alarmed expressions by what they see. There was also an extreme close up of Captain Miller’s hand shaking. We are shown this to stress how intimidating it must have been for the all the soldiers and to provoke fear and anticipation in the audience. As they get closer towards the beach the sound of bullets and fire break loose, we are shown this to show the determination on the Nazi-Germans. Troops plunge into the water and the sound becomes muted, one after another they were shot at, there are...

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