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Thrissur India
War is fun?“NOT QUITE”
Dec 07, 2013 11:08 PM 1251 Views





Stephen Spielberg’s intense opening credits of “Saving Private Ryan” infused in me, a curious feeling of great adrenaline rush, while entirely stirred my imagination with unflinching anticipation.

It opens with one of the most breathtakingly original color de-saturated(black & white) fence firing sequences - which would instantly make us say – “Bravo! Here’s a war experience – which, none of us want to be part of”.

The movie is about the infamous Normandy Invasion of WW II & the Omaha Beach Assault(opening credits), where Hitler’s Nazis seemingly tried to invade Churchill’s America, with some infinite artillery & giant, big machine guns - in the early 1940’s.

Captain John Miller(Tom Hanks), who lead the US defense in the invasion, is assigned by General George Marshall to find out Private James Francis Ryan(Matt damon) a first class combat/paratrooper – who is also the last surviving member of the Ryan family.

Ryan’s three brothers are died in action & Miller and co is send on a public relations mission to find him out, notify him this & possibly send him back to his native place to attend the brother’s funeral.

They shrewdly expedite through the outskirts of WW II nodal points, while finally winding up in “Ramelle”, an important warzone - where our combat “Ryan” is in desperate bits to defend a vital US bridge just above the Merderet River.

If the Nazis secure the bridge, the war is more or less LOST & the onus is on these soldiers including Private Ryan - to defend the honors. Will Private Ryan go back home to attend his brother’s funeral or will he continue the fight for American’s.? Watch “Saving Private Ryan” to find the answer.

The Ingenious thing about Spielberg’s film is the way it blends the nuances of war & the inherent philosophies associated with it - without ever glorifying the soldiers or the action as it unravels.

Most world war II movies from the past involved the use of a giant big studio & the superseding entertainment quotient - as opposed to these smart/diabolical ideologies - and Spielberg along with screenwriter Robert Rodat boasts off a brilliant visual film with echoes of Oliver Stone’s “Platoon”.

A war is evil personified & the casualties of it are normal, innocent human beings. These people – the combats & the victims - can’t possibly fathom everything related to war and Spielberg & Rodat doesn’t shy away from that fact – an idea which is as original I think – as 1986’s “Platoon”.

It’s difficult to make an anti-war film because of the superseding entertainment quotient – the fun will kill the message - & the great film-makers from the past often questioned the possibility of making such films – mostly because of that sole reason.

But Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” blatantly(and vicariously) defied that simple yet powerful logic.

It defied:-

  1. That it is possible to create an anti-war movie without ascending or descending the entertainment quotient.

  2. It is possible to portray war from ground zero aka the infantrymen’s point-of-view.

  3. And last but not the least - It is possible to portray warriors as ordinary people with the kind of insecurities & anxieties which, we, the normal people often carry along with.

War is only a tip of the iceberg in Saving Private Ryan & the entire running time of Rodat’s screenplay, deals with the warrior & their emotions vis-à-vis the real war itself. Thankfully, it doesn’t glorify the men in the fields like in most movies(from the past) and yet depicts the intense realities & the immense responsibilities of actual war & warriors – those ordinary people bestowed with real, 360 degree combat situations.

War is about fighting for the right cause & solidifying them with shrewd tactical decisions(which even includes taking other people’s lives) and like Miller, Ryan and the other crew members, “Saving Private Ryan” mirrors the real the essence of war & the brutalities of war - to its audiences; while simultaneously(&vicariously) taking both of them through a fake public relations mission which neither parties don’t want to experience. That’s the USP of Saving Private Ryan.

Spielberg blends these philosophies in a stunning visual film & put its together in a 3 hour long epic - which strikes you like a shot in the arm. The Result - “A HOMERUN in the true sense of the word”. See it.

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