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Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of 'Saving Private Ryan' both shocking and realistic.

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Essay Question: Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of 'Saving Private Ryan' both shocking and realistic. After living through the battle of Omaha beach on D-Day, U.S. Army Ranger captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is given a new assignment: to find Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon). Ryan's three brothers have all been killed in action and his mother will be informed of all three deaths at the same time. General George Marshall personally decides to send a squad to bring him back for her sake. Miller conceals his profession of being a school teacher and his background from the troops under his command. Under intensely difficult circumstances, Miller shows a courageous attitude to his soldiers - his nervousness is communicated to them only by an occasional shaking of his right hand, which he cannot control. Eventually, at the cost of two members of their unit, Miller and his men find Ryan defending a vital bridge. Miller breaks the news of his brothers' deaths to him and tells him that he is going home. Ryan does not listen, wanting to stay with his squad because they're "the only brothers I have left." Ryan persuades Miller to remain and take command of the unit. ...read more.


of the person, but are just symbols of faith (e.g. the cross, for Christianity). When the people gather around the one tombstone, the mid-angled shot is used. It shows the rows of tombstones, which emphasizes how many people were killed on D day. The man falls to his knees, indicating his emotions, his family approach him, patting him, comforting him. Again, an extreme close-up on his face is used showing his expressions. During the transition, we hear crashing waves, it adds to the effect that we are there. This signifies that we are going to the past; it is almost as if we are reading his mind. As the second phase starts, we see the waves; the colours have changed dramatically, from bold bright colours, to monotonous, dull colours. We see distinctive and weird shapes, which contrasts against the blue sky. The violent environmental comparison destroys the peace of the previous scene. There is no speech, we only terrified people, who's faces look almost green, this is used to build up apprehension. There are armed personal soldiers, some soldiers cross themselves, they kiss the cross, this is called symbolism; they believe that the cross can protect them as it is the symbol of their religion and it contains the protection of God. ...read more.


One of the American soldiers mocks a dead German, this adds humour to the scene, which heavily contrasts to a couple of minutes before, where everyone is serious, and are showing no mercy. All in all, the opening scene, where the family are walking towards the cemetery, does not prepare me for what it had in store, the battle. The two scenes contrast vigorously, the first scene, has bold, bright colours, it is peaceful and slow, involving the audience emotionally. The second scene, on the other hand, consists of tedious colours, where it is dull and boring. But there is a lot of action, lots of blood, lots of gore, and these factors highlight the ferocity of the situation. It was very realistic and shocking, the phrase, 'seeing is believing' is what it is all about. So far, I had only heard about the D Day landings, but after seeing this part of the movie, I now know what it felt like to be there, to be part of it, and this is mainly due to the fact that hand-held cameras where used, these camera techniques involved the audience as it makes them feel as if they are really there. Speilberg successfully succeeds in putting 'chaos on screen'. Again, the methods used to recreate this dramatic event are effective, as it shows us what it was like to be part of the action. ...read more.

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