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Saving Private Ryan Film Critique Essay

Saving Private Ryan storyline is dated back to 1944 in during Normandy in which three of his brothers also serving in the United States Military were killed and he was the only surviving sibling found to be alive during one of the biggest conflicts in US history. The story line depicts the time in which going to war did not necessary mean that coming home was guaranteed. Many men volunteered or were drafted to fight a war that they may or may not have believed in. The timeline in which everything unfolds in the movie occurs in chronological order, due to the fact that after the deaths of Private Ryan’s brother a team was put together with a mission to go and bring home to only surviving brother.

The move showed powerful and moving heroic activity to many men that gave their lives for the very freedoms many take for granted together. As a US Marine Corp vet and currently serving in the US Air force, I can relate to the sacrifice that these brave men gave on the beach in Normandy. As well as the sacrifice many gave to find their fellow brethren and bring him back home safely. Mission first and leave no fallen comrade behind is the way of life on the battlefield and was depicted to the fullest in this movie.

No one man was left behind, no matter how detrimental their injuries where any and all medical care was given. The dog tags where retrieved in order to give back to the grieving family who may have lost more than one on the battlefield for freedom. Patriotism is symbolic in any war because it shows the true allegiance and honor that man has to die for its country so that others many live in freedom. The images of the American flag transitioning throughout the movie in various scenes allows those watching it not to forget what and why the fight was going on. The message that can be learned from the movie is that freedom by any means is not free. From the beaches of Normandy to the mountains in Afghanistan there is a cost for the freedoms that we enjoy in our everyday life that many take for granted. In today’s world, the 1% of men and women volunteer to ensure that those freedoms are defended with the upmost honor and integrity above and beyond reproach.

Throughout the film the critical roles of Tom Hanks that portrayed the CPT Miller in charge of the mission to go and find Private Ryan that was played by Matt Damon and other supporting characters that played important and key roles in the rescue. In certain scene’s more emphasis was on key leaders and figures to ensure that the mission was carried out successfully and when they were injured or killed others immediately stepped up and took charge.

One of the more honorable task that one can posses in not on the movie but real life military is to step up in the face of fear and danger and lead others into battle. In such scene such as the end where Private Ryan is showed respect to CPT Miller’s gravestone, the man who ultimately gave his life after the successful rescue of Private Ryan. In that scene you could feel the sense of pride and patriotism at the cemetery as the transition from the gravestone to the American flag symbolism the sacrifice of one man’s life for the freedom of another.

Though the movie was based on a real life event that took place in history, the characters throughout the movie where not in any way related to active military service. They portrayed the heroic characters of those they were part of that historic moment in military history. Many that went on to play in other important roles in military such as Matt Damon who portrayed an Army Warrant officer in Green Zone. Even without having served in the military, the actors portrayed in a great respect those that had past, present, and future.

With that being said, the type of acting that was done was a real and close to military action as you can get behind the lens of a camera. The scene’s where every bit of full of pride to full of gore and blood, with bodies being blown to pieces as the men marched on toward the completion of the mission at hand. At any moment’s notice the hush of the battlefield turned into a fiery storm with the loud thunder of bullets raining through the sky, arms and limbs falling by the wayside. One hour of sleep was a dream of something many only could image they would get, but the incoming round of mortar and shells covering them camp ground like blankets of snow on a cold day in Maine. There’s nothing more honorable than to show respect to those who have served, then to tell their story and let the whole world know about many of the unsung heroes.

Throughout the movie the various scenes from the walk to the grave site to the landing on the beaches of Normandy the effects and transitioning played a vital role in getting the audience the full effect of the way war was. One scene in particular that comes to mind was when the ships were all gather just inches from the shore. The quietness of the sea, as you get intense screen shots of the soldier, one by one fear and uncertainty molded in their face. Then the raining bullets, piercing through bullets, heads blown to pieces, lives lost in an instance and quiet as you can blink an eye.

There was no time to retreat, to run for cover, or to say another prayer the time to fight had begun and it was truly life or death moments where one wrong move would end your life. The intensity of the framing of each scene made the whole difference in getting the true experience of war and its uncertainty on who lived or died. The young and the old, the strong and the weak, the seasoned veterans to the newly recruited all were in the same category when bullets started raining down upon them.

The more symbolic scenes’ in the movie were slow and symbolic in which it seemed that it was to get a more the meaning of war and the cost of it was deeply felt. The last scene of the movie in which Private Ryan was reflecting on life and when he was rescued and then in slowly dissolved that scene into the American flag was truly symbolic of the fact that the cost of freedom is far from free. Many men gave their lives to save their fellow man, and ensure that those back home would be free to live as they choose.

The action scenes were quick and fast going from one scene where bullets where raining down on the enemy to buildings exploding from mortars and grenades. The use of transitional methods for the scenes in this movie made it easy for those that have never experienced war and been in the military to understand exactly what life and living it was like. From, the action scenes to the daily intelligence meetings to decide what the battle plan was for the next mission the scenes gave the average American a true glimpse into war.

In the telling of the story of Saving Private Ryan the use of traditional military patriotism was used throughout the movie. From the style of uniforms that they wore, the equipment, and the day to day military activities. Most military movies tend to be over dramatic in the way war and life and takes away from the true meaning of being part of that few and elite 1% that sign up to serve their country. Before serving was an elective choice, many men were elected through the message of a draft letter without the opportunity to live as they choose after high school. This left many families without out all of their children if they happen to have all boys as in the case of Saving Private Ryan where he was the only surviving sibling.

Throughout the movie the effects and impacts the war has on individuals even years after they have fought and ended was portrayed in the movie. The effect it had on Private Ryan as he reflected on that period in his life was seen as he was at the grave site giving honor to the one that gave his life leading the mission to bring him home safely. Steven Spielberg has been known to write great movies such as E.T, and Jurassic Park both great movies that take you on an adventure to a period of time in which special effects and creativity made fiction become reality.

With war there is always controversy both political and societal where you those that believe in war and support the troops and those that do not believe in war and do not support the troops. Even in today’s war there are those that believe that the war was not worth it and that we should be more concerned with fixing the home front instead of repairing another broken country. So the idea of war back then as controversial, when joining the military was a choice for few and mandatory for mean was even more of an issue. Where mother’s had to send off husbands and sons and have less than a 35% chance of them returning home because the nature of war then was just as great of a threat then if not more as it is now. With less specialized equipment and training meaning would head face first into to battle, ultimately leading to their early demise many before the age of 21.

Due to graphic nature of the scene’s of battle, there in my opinion was no evidence of censorship of war and what is was like back in that era. It makes the move more realistic when there is less censorship making the more less Hollywood and more war like. When too much editing or over acting occurs it takes away from the meaning core of the movie and makes it’s seem made for TV than made from real life experiences.

The movie falls into the genre of both an action and a war film being as it has over 60% of the movie being action and it’s based on the fight at Normandy Beach. You can even go as far as to say that it could also fit into the genre of drama and suspense because with each scene of battle there was a level of suspense into which you didn’t know who was going to make it and who was going to die. This is all incumbent into to what war is like for those that serve and those waiting back on the home front. The suspense of not knowing what you will be facing once you cross into the line of battle. The suspense of sitting home trying not to wait for a telegram or black car and two uniformed soldiers to arrive at your doorstep to say that you loved you has lost their life in the most honorable way fighting for their country.

The drama as in all military conflicts is the idea of what is the best course of action to complete any mission you are faced with and living with the lost of a comrade that was near and dear to you. Death and war go hand and hand like oxygen to lungs they are one within the other and with one you will have the other. War movies have so many different aspects to it that they could fall into many different categories, but based on the overall message of the movie depicts what and why the movie falls into one category or the other. Such as A Few Good Man would be considered a drama, while the Green Zone is action-war movie while it was based on more of the political aspects of war and the weapons of mass destructions in Iraq. Depending on the type of movie being done and the plot or storyline depicts what category it can be classified as and what genre best fits it overall.

The realistic approach is the best when analyzing this film based on the type of movie it was and the overall storyline of the movie in regards to military war films. The fact that the movie was based on an event, and a realistic one and that make’s that the best approach to determine if the movie follows the proper approach to war during that era in time in the military. Does this movie really depict what war was like back then? Would this really occur during battle or it is an over dramatic made for screen only?

This are two of many questions that can be asked when watching war movies to ensure that they keep in honorary tradition of the military and war and not what Hollywood would think would sell best at the box offices. War in itself is as about realistic as you can get when you are sending brothers, husband, sons, and daughters to fight a war you may or may not believe in only to worry if you will ever seen them again. There is no other way in my opinion to describe and analyze a war movie than to determine the realism and patriotism that derives from the movie and how it overall tells the story of war.


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