Saving Private Ryan opening sequence notes

What does a WW2 Movie Have to be?

  • Needs to be factually accurate.
  • Needs to be sensitive and respectful towards its subject.
  • The ability to gain an emotional response.

Saving private Ryan: Opening Sequence:

  • Slow, militaristic music, has connotations to war remembrance. –
  • Opens with the American flag – patriotism – dying for their country.
  • Opens in the “present day” – an instant emotional response for this character.
  • The character’s face is shocked, just before you see the graves.
  • Links back to him ‘walking amongst his men’ once more is a sad visual.
  • Shot of the character falling in front of the grave
  • Shot of the family reinforces the films point that all the soldiers died for something.
  • All the rows of graves – Showing the mass of deaths during this war – factual themes. – ‘endless rows’
  • A flag is patriotic.- covering the screen – a clear and strong theme
  • The flags colours are desaturated – shows how time has passed –
  • Low angle looking up at the flag showing superiority – themes of heaven and death is shown with the bright light shining down at it.
  • An enigma shot – tracking the character feet – not knowing who the person is.
  • The character is seen crying at a grave – this is used to not only gain an emotional response but also throws the viewer off.

Second Sequence: The Beach

  • The metal ‘X’s’ look like the graves
  • there are lots of individual faces, making it feel more personal.
  • Instant mass death – reenforcing what was shown in the opening sequence.
  • A sudden realisation for the viewer – the bloody, gory deaths – sensitising the viewer to the reality of this war.
  • blood red water
  • Sound – zoned out – as if from the position of Tom Hanks.
  • Realism – very difficult to hear and understand the characters speaking over the gunshots and explosions.
  • Film stocks – colours are very desaturated in the beach
  • You link the shots of tom, and the old geez because it zooms in on the old geez, and zooms out of tommy boy linking the two g’s.
  • Miller’s hand is shaking – adding another layer to the narrative.
  • Blood splattered over the camera lens – could add another layer of realism but also b]break the viewers suspension of disbelief – known there is is a camera.
  • Action reaction shots – Tom Hanks seeing all the horror around him. Subjective positioning – especially the image of the man looking around for his arm – showing the shock and senselessness during this.

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