Saving Private Ryan Essay, Research Paper
In critiquing Steven Spielberg?s movie Saving Private Ryan, I realized that you can not base a move only on realism. A good movie has got to have some kind of character or formalism to carry the viewer through these realistic scenes. Spielberg not only uses these tools but also showed stereotyped images in his characters. In my critique I wish to point out some uses of realism, formalism, and stereotypes in the movie Saving Private Ryan.
In my eyes Saving Private Ryan is a masterpiece. Even though the movie is nearly three hours in length, it is evenly distributed and takes on a powerful subject. Private Ryan wasn?t merely another war movie, I really felt it caught the soul of war. The film begins with a half-hour sequence of the landings at Normandy on D-Day. Many films have portrayed this D-Day scene, but have failed to me in realism. In Private Ryan, realism portrayed in a nearly exact replica of war. To achieve this Steven Spielberg displayed the battle scenes, as the next step could be the moment of death. Limbs are blown off in mid-shot; guts splay out of uniforms and onto the sandy beach; soldier in mid-sentence are startled by bullet holes blossoming on their foreheads. Bloods sticks to the lens of the camera. In doing so Spielberg mastered the opening of Saving Private Ryan as far as realism.
The D-Day sequence actually has nothing to do with the story of Saving Private Ryan. Formalism kicks in when Miller and what’s left of his small platoon receive orders to retrieve a private Ryan (Matt Damon) from somewhere on the forward line in France. Ryan’s brothers have all died in combat in the last week, and General wants to pull the private back to the states, to spare Mrs. Ryan the heartbreak of having all of her boys killed in action. Never have I seen a documentary that made a box office hit solely on realism so I feel Spielberg?s plot was well worth wild.
Not only did I see realism and formalism in Saving Private Ryan but Spielberg?s platoon of men consisted of the usual melting-pot collection of stereotypes. The loyal meat-and-potatoes sergeant, loudmouth Brooklyn-Irish critic, combat virgin, wisecracking Jew, big-hearted Italian, bible-quoting sharpshooter. Although, Tom Hanks goes against stereotype in this movie. Captains are usually portrayed as rock-hard and without emotion. In this movie, Tom Hanks shows a very caring and calm portrayal of a military captain.
As a platoon movie, Saving Private Ryan is engrossing, with some sharply written conversation and brilliantly executed scenes of danger and violence. Although I feel this movie is reaching for a grander scale, as an attempt to make the war movie more realistic and less Hollywood-ized, Private Ryan is often shockingly effective. There are moments in this film where I thought, what was about to happen couldn?t happen in a Hollywood movie, let alone a Steven Spielberg movie and then, unbelievably, it happens. All and all, I
loved every hour of Saving Private Ryan. Seeing this movie after a few Cinema Appreciation classes I seem to have caught things that would have other wise been looked over. Such as, realism, formalism, and stereotypes to which built a good foundation and created a good movie.