This is one of my favorite moments of cinema of all time.
The movie is barely 10 minutes in. It’s the siege of Petersburg, a battle often discussed in US History classes with detachment, like much of our brutal history. This musical score of this scene and the shots of thousands of merciless deaths immediately hit you with the impact of the battle. It gives it a feeling of being real, of placing you in the moment where it’s no longer a sentence in the textbook. Soldiers have faces. They cry in pain. The look with horror. They die in agony. The emotional place where this shot is is hardly ever achieved and it’s only 10 minutes in!!!
In the book Inman says/thinks,
And all of that is encompassed in this 2 second pan of Inman’s face. Every bit of it. The anger, the hatred, the remorse, the disgust. Every emotion he feels about this situation, this bloody bloody war, is there. We are seeing such depth in a character we’ve seen speak, what, 5 words?
This moment transports you to a place that you had no idea you could reach emotionally. Everything the book and movie wanted to portray about the war, everything countless people fighting thought about the war, is summed up in this 3 seconds.
A simple zoom
A simple look
and we feel more than we thought we could ever feel.
Hats off to Anthony Minghella and crew