Realistic Depiction of War in Movies Through the Use of Cinematography

Filmmakers adopt different methods in order to glorify and depict the horror of war. Each filmmaker, in their representation of war, adopts a method or style that has an effect on the film and the way it is viewed… Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, and Full Metal Jacket are just a few examples of such films. Coppola in Apocalypse Now (1979), Kubrick in Full Metal Jacket (1987), and Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan (1988), all try to portray a realistic representation of war. Filmmakers also use various techniques to help the viewer feel that they are actually in the war itself. The filmmakers use cinematic techniques, static camera shots, de-saturated colors, and light and dark shots, to portray these realistic depictions of war.

Filmmakers use de-saturated, muted, colors as a way to portray a realistic representation of war. In Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg uses de-saturated colors throughout the film. The entire film seems to have muted colors, except for the red of the blood. The Omaha Beach scene has especially muted colors. The colors help the viewer to feel as if they are watching an old newsreel or footage of the actual war. The uniforms of the soldiers and the beach are all pale colors. However, the red of the blood is intense. This helps to add shock value to the amount of soldiers wounded and to the severity of their injuries. The water was a muted color throughout the entire scene. At the end of the battle, however, the water turns a brilliant crimson. Again this adds shock value to the scene. De-saturated colors are also used by Stanley Kubrick, in Full Metal Jacket. The battle scenes in the latter half of the movie are also portrayed in muted colors. The bombed buildings and the soldiers are all portrayed using pale colors. However, the blood of the wounded is again a brilliant red color. The contrast of colors makes the injuries seem much more apparent. The de-saturation of the colors of the town, also, gives the viewer a feeling of the destruction of war. De-saturation of color is extremely predominant in Apocalypse Now. Francis Coppola uses de-saturation of color in the hallucination of Willard. The scene portrays a muted jungle with a brilliantly burning napalm bomb. This again adds shock value to the scene. This scene portrays the realistic view of the destruction of warfare. Drained colors in Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, and Full Metal Jacket help give a realistic depiction of war.

Filmmakers often use various cinematic techniques in order to portray a realistic representation of war. Steven Spielberg, in Saving Private Ryan, uses static and mobile camera shots to help depict a realistic portrayal of war. In the Omaha beach scene, Spielberg uses hand held camera shots. These hand held camera shots give the feeling that the viewer is at the D-day battle. This helps the film to be more realistic, the viewer can actually picture themselves there. Another film technique used to represent a realistic depiction of war is light and dark contrast. Francis Ford Coppola, in Apocalypse Now, uses light and dark contrast to help the viewer feel what the characters are feeling. The scene on the boat by the bridge is a perfect example of this. The entire scene was dark except for the flashes from the bombs and the searchlight. This contrast of lighting helps the viewer feel the confusion that the characters are feeling. Filmmakers make war seem more realistic by helping the viewer feel as if they are there.

Filmmakers adopt different methods and techniques in order to bring the viewer into the film and make the film more realistic. These techniques help the filmmakers realistically represent war while still entertaining the viewer.

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