Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Band of Brothers

Released in 2002, Band of brothers was -in my opinion- one of the best serious series I have ever watched. The series is just one season (an advantage which not many series make use of in greed of making money) and its about Easy Company, a part of the 101st American Airborne Division and their story through their training to the end of the Second World War.

Once you get through the first episode which is very much like an introduction to the characters and can get a little boring the story really picks up. What is really great about this work -beyond the excellent directions and a serious life-based scenario of course- is the fact that every episode is filmed by a different director (sorry Tom Hanks I did not like the episode you took upon yourself that much). That way in every episode you see the story from a different point of view.

A war movie or war series in our age is usually handled in a way where you see the worst of each individual or you see just the heroes in an epic way. We could say that these series do have the both but both points have been handled very delicately and I might add very very professionally. In characterization you can go beyond the acts and deeds and touch the characters' psyche. From a fearless leader to a very cowardly private you can find it all but not as cardboard characters: as humans. That's because all those characters you watch on your TV are real. I loved the fact that the producers went through all the trouble of finding those people who actually took place in Easy Company back then and had them included in the show; At the beginning of each episode you see them commenting on their own personal experiences which added to the feeling of a documentary in this work.

But its not just the producers who went through an amazing amount of work in the Band of Brothers. The actors were actually taken into a military camp before the filming began in order for them to adapt themselves, in the true sense, to the situations of an army camp. And this also shows itself in the work as every actor is doing his job to the best of his ability. They actually did look as if they were army hardened.

David Schwimmer in Band of Brothers
Damian Lewis as Dick Winters
 Now I do not necessarily like the acting of Damian Lewis but even he is very well fit for the main character he plays. I was especially sceptical on the choice of David Schwimmer, well known Ross from the sitcom Friends, but I have to give it to him, he was not bad at all despite the fact that you could see his sitcom past in the first scene; nevertheless he did a good job.

The sets and the locations where the series were shot, were either the original locations or extremely well-made sets. The atmosphere plays a great role in series such as these and I have to say it is a job very well done. I could actually see in front of me that age and that time. I found myself given a start when there was a bombardment and I could feel myself welling up at many points.

All in all, if you are interested in war movies or the Second World War then you have to at least see Band of Brothers. Adding it to your collection will follow anyway :)