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Saving Private Ryan - Carnage or compassion: which is most effective?

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Introduction

GCSE English: Media Unit: Saving Private Ryan Carnage or compassion: which is most effective? I will be comparing two different scenes using pause button analysis from the film Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg. The purpose of this essay is to determine whether carnage or compassion is more effective at gaining audience sympathy and understanding for the characters in the film and the situation they are in. By using pause button analysis we can view both carnage and compassion in greater depth and see which one has the strongest effect on the viewers. Saving Private Ryan was set during the invasion of Normandy in World War 2. The film depicts the real life events of the Normandy Landings on the 6th of June, 1944, otherwise known as D-Day. At the beginning of the film, the focus is on the American soldiers landing on Omaha Beach, but after a mass slaughtering and a struggled battle against the German Army, the plot advances into the search for Private James Francis Ryan. The first scene that we are looking at is the beach scene which begins with the American soldiers on the boat heading towards Omaha Beach. Once they land on the beach, we see complete carnage as the slaughtering begins and we see hundreds of anonymous soldiers being gunned down. After a mass killing, the American soldiers must decide how to breach the German defences and this is where our analysis of the beach scene ends. ...read more.

Middle

He doesn't have a helmet on which makes him stand out from his fellow soldiers and makes him seem daring. Spielberg may have deliberately shown this soldier without a helmet so the audience recognises him and to make him even more recognisable, the camera zooms in to a close up of his face. In the middle section of shots, we see one of the American soldiers named Upham realise that he had made a mistake in saying that they should let the German soldier go earlier. As Captain Miller struggles towards the detonator to blow up the bridge, the German aims with precision and then shoots him. This is sadly ironic because Captain Miller let the German soldier go earlier but then the German shoots Miller and shows absolutely no remorse. Even though Captain Miller is badly injured, we see his determination as he picks up a gun and repeatedly shoots a tank which is like his fate rolling towards him. The shots of Miller shooting the tank and the tank rolling towards him get shorter in duration to show that they are getting closer together. The final shots of the bridge scene consists mostly of Upham's private victory and realisation of the situation because as Upham is pointing his gun at a group of Germans, the soldier who was let go but who then killed Captain Miller says "Upham" in a friendly manner and with a grin upon his face to persuade Upham not shoot him. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, I believe that the audience may not feel as much emotion towards individual characters because they don't know who any of the soldiers are as they are anonymous characters to whom they have no feelings towards. I believe that the bridge scene is deeply effective in gaining audience sympathy and understanding because we see compassion as the main character in the film dies just as we have grown to know him in more depth and now means more to us than before when he was just another anonymous soldier. In conclusion, I believe that the bridge scene is more effective in gaining audience sympathy and understanding because although seeing the carnage in the beach scene is very emotional as we see the large extent of slaughtering, we cannot really relate to any of the characters that are killed because we don't know any of them: to the audience they are a group of anonymous soldiers. However, seeing the compassion of the death of Captain Miller in the bridge scene is even more effective at gaining our sympathy and understanding because we can relate to the situation as the characters are more significant to us and we feel more emotion if they are harmed. We can also relate to the private victory of Upham in the bridge scene because it gives us understanding and hope that we can overcome our fears as Upham did and win our own private victory. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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