The opening scene shows a group of young ladies and few old men moving towards a grave site. The old men have sad face with tears in their eyes. One of the men goes down in front of a grave, weeping and is consoled by the ladies (Steven Spielberg). He then flashback and that set the narrative of the film. The opening scene is connected to the end seen in that, the film ends in the same place. It shows how the whole films end with the number of departed fighters filling the large gravesite. The story begins with a group of soldiers making their way to the ocean shore through storm. The captain gives the soldiers instructions upon reaching the shore.
The soldiers are not aware that the enemy is laying ambush and they are attacked immediately they reach the shore. What ensued is a gun fight and the bullet cases falling, gun shots from every corner. One can see fear written all over the faces of junior soldier. Clearly they did not expect this when they signed up for the occupation.
This is war, serious war. Soldiers are confused trying to get out of the tricky situation. Many of them are dying. The complicated narrative is centered on the theme of humanity and justice and the one man who is caught up in the centre of it all. The uniqueness in the order of events is in the way that the story keeps changing from the war scene to the peaceful scenes of soldiers back at home with the caring nurse and families around them. The changes of the scene in the movies further helps to promote the theme of justice and theme of humanity. The film shows what must be done so that humanity gets peace: This is justice.
The ranger captain and his men are the protagonists in the movie and the antagonists are the Germans. We are supposed to sympathize with the American rangers in the movie and dislike the German infantries. It is significant for the main character to live so that he can complete the operation to save Ryan. The Germans are supposed not to live as they oppose the mission of the protagonist.
The director employed the use of 45-degree and 90-degree shutters in the war scenes to make the realistic. The explosions are happening as in real life and the viewers are able to feel like this is a real battle ground. The high angle shot shows the viewer that even though the camera focuses on the individuals and the landed squad, the force is larger. When the boats arrive at the shore, the camera follows them closely and the viewer feels like he or she is with them in the boat. The gazes in the eyes of the soldiers are closer and emotional connection is formed between the characters and the audience.
The positioning of the camera at a high-angle above shoulder gives the impression of the advantage that the German army over the landing American soldiers. The fifty straight cuts are evidence of the editor’s as they happen within a period of just four minutes to set the movie. The straight cuts between the soldiers’ conversations and the gun shots show the techniques employed by the film editors.
The director uses long shorts to give a wider picture and to show the size of the squad, medium shots are to show individual characters in the film and the close up shot are used to focus on the feelings of the characters. The fear in some of the soldiers is visible because of the close up shots. The extreme close up shot permits the viewers to read the name at the back of the dead soldier. The name written is “s Ryan”
The repeated elements in the film are the gun battles. This shows that the movie is mainly about the field battle between soldiers. The diegetic sounds come from the characters or other instruments in the movie, for example the gun shots and sounds of explosives. There is also the non-diegetic sound added mainly for the dramatic effects in the first battle scene. The use of both of the sounds captures the audience attention and creates ambiguity that leaves the audience surprised and horrified like in the real war.
The movie has reinforced some stereotypes that most of the war movies seem support. There is the stereotype of humble and strong leader in captain miller. He takes charge of his soldiers and guides them throughout the movie. Another stereotype is that of superman aspect. The American warriors seem to be better than their opponents. Whenever they engage the enemies, the enemies lose many of their men than the American soldiers. Another stereotype is that of mentorship. The captain mentors his men and guides them on their steps towards victory. The movie in away challenges the stereotype of wars being necessary. Deaths of the many soldiers and the grave site show that war is never the best option in solving conflicts. The man ideology of the movie is survival and unlike other war movies, it doesn’t glorify war
Ryan, Saving Private. “Steven Spielberg.” Paramount Pictures (1998).