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Saving Private Ryan: The Paradoxical Search for Humanity within the Brutal Inhumanity of War - Movie Review Example

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The author analyzes "Saving Private Ryan" movie which deals with WWII and appeared about the time that the realization started to spread that in fact, this generation was starting to pass away at a rapid rate. The idea of the movie was to commemorate this greatest generation before it was too late. …
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Saving Private Ryan: The Paradoxical Search for Humanity within the Brutal Inhumanity of War
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Download file to see previous pages The theme of memory is essential to Saving Private Ryan: - the film starts with an elderly man walking along the now peaceful seashore of France, closely followed, but at a respectful distance, by his family. He is obviously remembering things that they cannot possibly understand, but which they will be a witness to. In many ways, the dutiful family is representative of the movie's audience (the vast majority of whom did not fight on D-Day) as well as perhaps Steven Spielberg himself.
One of the major differences between Saving Private Ryan and other movies which have attempted to show a more positive aspect to war (for example The Longest Day) is that Spielberg is not attempting to whitewash the full horrors of war. Rather, as the opening scene on the beach illustrates, he is attempting to give the audience as near as possible the actual experience of the American soldiers landing on the beach for D-Day. This was bloody, brutal, often involving futile and decidedly unheroic deaths; yet at the same time, it was part of an overall effort that is seen as heroic (Gilbert, 2004).
In the landing craft, as it approaches the shoreline men are throwing up, some are visibly shaking with fear, all look utterly terrified. This is as far from the pleasant but absurdly unrealistic bravado of a John Wayne in many WWII films. One many finger his crucifix, another the butt of his rifle. The character played by Tom Hanks attempts to be a leader "I'll meet you at the top", but soon languishes into what appears to be a near shocked state. The landing craft opens up and those men at the front are immediately killed by a spray of heavy machine gun fire. Spielberg made sure to make these deaths as visceral as possible - both in sight and sound. We hear the bullets pass straight through the soldiers' heads, see the pieces of brain spatter onto their comrades. Within seconds the audience also sees men drown from the weight of their equipment before they even reach the shore.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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