ANASTASIA MONTAVON, AUSTIN VAN PAY, BENJAMIN K. PAPLHAM, SAMANTHA KOLB | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNISTS
Anastasia: “The Wind That Shakes The Barley”
When it comes to war movies, I have very vivid memories of how emotional I got at two in the morning watching “The Wind That Shakes The Barley.” I didn’t really know what it was about, but it was rated pretty high, so I decided to give it a shot. And wow, was it emotional. This movie takes place during the Irish War of Independence and follows two brothers, Damien and Teddy O’Donovan. They both join the Irish Republican Army, and they both experience the war in different ways. Damien becomes determined to win Ireland’s independence, but Teddy just wants the bloodshed to end. This movie is a rollercoaster of emotions I will never forget.
Austin: “Saving Private Ryan”
For me, the epitome of war films has to be Steven Spielberg’s 1998 blockbuster “Saving Private Ryan.” The film takes place during World War II and stars Tom Hanks as Captain John Miller, who takes his men behind enemy lines in hopes to find a soldier, Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), who has lost all three of his brothers in combat. The brutality of war surrounds Captain Miller and his men, and, while they search for this sole man, they each begin to discover their true strength, courage and brotherhood with one another. This film has some of the most intense and gritty battle scenes I have ever seen in a war film. Spielberg really lends an accurate and authentic feel to the time of World War II with the brutal battle scenes and interactions within the squad. The cinematography is haunting yet beautiful and the battle scenes are executed very well, but what really sets this film apart are the performances. Tom Hanks and all of the other actors, including Matt Damon, really sell the hardship and brotherhood that is found in war. You truly care about them, and you desperately want them to complete their mission, while also all coming out alive together. It’s an emotionally investing film, and I think it still stands as one of the best war films ever made.
Ben: “Letters From Iwo Jima”
I’m sure that most people have seen the iconic photograph from WWII of the six Marines raising the American flag after the Battle of Iwo Jima. I remember learning in elementary school that the image represents the courage, teamwork and perseverance of the United States in grueling victory, but I was never taught the other side of the battle. And that’s why “Letters from Iwo Jima” is such an amazing movie. It depicts the war from the Japanese perspective based on letters from the soldiers themselves. It’s brutal and passionate and gives credence to the expression “There are no victors in war.” Ken Watanabe (“Inception”) delivers the performance of a lifetime in a film that I guarantee will change your attitude on war and WWII.
Samantha: “Captain America: The First Avenger”
I have been a fan of Marvel movies since they first started coming out. And I’m not much of a “war movie” person, but I am a fan of taking historical events and twisting them around. Captain America is an excellent twist on behind-the-scenes World War II events. And World War II is so rich in its own history that adding other characters and clandestine operations makes the myths and legends that much more mysterious. The action in the movie is also exciting, because who doesn’t love a superhero movie with a Nazi-crushing shield? Captain America also has such positive ideals that it’s difficult not to appreciate him and his efforts. The underdog who never stops fighting for what he believes in is always a hero to admire, which is part of why I admire him.