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How does Steven Spielberg make the opening battle scene to Saving Private Ryan both shocking and realistic?

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How does Steven Spielberg make the opening battle scene to Saving Private Ryan both shocking and realistic? Saving Private Ryan is an epic war film directed by the world-renowned Steven Spielberg. The movie received several awards including five Academy Awards for best cinematography, best director, best effects, best film editing and best sound, it also picked up other prestigious awards. The first twenty-five minutes are a flashback to the storming of Omaha Beach on D-Day. Through his unique uses of proxemics, camera angles, costumes, special effects, editing, sound, colouring, props, events and characters Spielberg has made a shockingly graphic and unflattering war movie. During the visceral first twenty-five minutes Spielberg does his best to de-glamorise and twist our opinions of war, in order to shock us and make the whole experience realistic. When the movie begins we see Private Ryan, years after D-Day, slowly walking through the memorial graveyards, then the camera zooms in on his eyes and we see the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. In this battle Spielberg makes it shocking by going into graphic detail of the slaughter of thousands of soldiers. Throughout the battle we follow Captain Miller as he storms the beach, Miller shows signs of extreme courage and leadership qualities; for example when he drags a comrade along the beach, leaving himself more exposed to enemy gunfire. ...read more.


Often the place where the camera is pointing is not accurate, by this I mean that the people running or an explosion happening is not directly in the middle of the shot, this is a very good way of making everything seem random and unrehearsed as the battle would have been in real life. It makes it seem that the explosions and killing is everywhere. When Private Ryan visits the graveyard at the beginning of the movie it is modern day so they are wearing modern clothes, the sort that would be worn in real life. Plus they are bright which symbolises peace. During the war the uniforms are dark and dirty especially the Germans this could be to signify that they are the greater evil and make them look more intimidating like an enemy should. Due to the gruesome nature of the film, special effects play a huge role in making it realistic and shocking, there are constant gun woundings, severed limbs, explosions etc. making the first twenty five minutes very gory, it is also almost impossible to decipher between the special effects and the real thing, it leaves nothing to the imagination. ...read more.


Flapping in the wind in the beginning the American flag seems drained of colour this is probably to symbolise the flags age but maybe it has the deeper meaning such as the transparency of patriotism, the flag which is one of the most patriotic symbols of any country and to see it so unconvincing coincides with the theme that develops in the mind of the viewer which is, it's not worth dying for your country. On D-Day the lighting is done to make the scene look dark and dismal, it may be bright but it also is stormy overhead, which is quite fitting for the situation. After the battle the sea is blood red, which helps to emphasise how much killing and bloodshed has taken place. Also the bodies that litter the beach are another effective method of shock tactics. In the battle the American soldier is presented as very clean cut and well rounded for example none of them smoke and under the circumstances they don't swear very often. By making the American soldiers out to be well behaved, do-gooders we become more engulfed in the story as we want them to succeed in their conquest. To conclude Spielberg has cleverly used cinematography, proxemics etc. to make a realistic yet shocking movie. ...read more.

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