1500 word essay – Micro analysis “Saving private Ryan” on Cinematography (camera movement)
The film “Saving Private Ryan” was directed by Steven Spielberg in 1998 and has won several awards including an Oscar; for best picture and best cinematography. The film narrative revolves around a squad of American soldiers that have been given the task to locate and retrieve the last of four brothers somewhere in southern France. Private James Ryan has been given permission to return home to his mother. However, when found the lucky soldier does not want to leave his men behind, despite the news of the death of all of his brothers.
The minutes 4:49 through till 9:23 focuses on a squad of American soldiers as they make their way onto the beaches of Normandy whilst facing overwhelming fire power from the Germans elevated positions. This scene depicts the allied force’s bloody struggle to take these positions on Omaha beach, Normandy.
In the 4.49, there is a master shot (above) of a squad of soldiers standing on a military aquatic vehicle. The director then zooms slowly toward the boat. The camera image is distorted and swayed to seem to the spectator that the camera is moving with the waves alongside the boat. This is a documentary style of camera movement and is used to allow the spectator to feel that they are alongside the soldiers. This technique is also used to allow the spectator to appreciate the conditions that these soldiers are competing with, thus increasing the intimacy between spectator and characters.
There is then a fast edit (25 seconds later) to a stable tracking shot from the front of the boat to the rear showing all of the soldiers individually. The director uses this to allow the spectator to analyse the facial expressions of the soldiers and the movements they make. It employed by the director to exaggerate and enhance the spectators understanding of the fear these men are experiencing as they prepare to reach the shore. This method has also been used in order to allow the spectator to feel that they are experiencing this ordeal alongside these men.
The fast cut used in this scene plays a significant role in the beginning of this segment of the film. It is used to build tension for the spectators by using fast paced transitions such as the cut described causing the spectator to follow the narrative more anxiously as the characters prepare to land. The director’s intentions in this case are clear. The spectator must become intimate with the soldiers experience in the beginning. This makes the spectator more attached to the protagonists so that when tension is built through a series of fast paced editing and cuts, the spectator keeps interest in the scene as they now want to find out what happens to them next and whether or not they will make it onto the beach.
As the soldiers land on Omaha beach a highly significant shot reverse shot is used, focusing on the German defensive positions and the American amphibian attack. T...