This afternoon, I watched Executive Decision (1996) and I can see by comparison how much greater and deeper is Band of Brothers. While the other is full of genre “badass” characters, the latter is full of real, even quiet and afraid, people. We know who Easy Company is. But who is Rat and Mr. Cahill or Mr. Grant of Executive Decision? They aren’t even given backstories, no lives outside the plot. A sure sign of a genre film.
Band of Brothers most certainly is not.
I can care and dislike people in Easy Company. I can predict them and understand them. I can feel for them. I can cheer for them. And I can wish I were there for them.
The fourth episode continues to fulfill this depth. There is even a hard scene of the Dutch townspeople punishing women for sleeping with Nazis. Sobering. The opening scene introducing the replacements for Easy Company is very real and lighthearted, as the men celebrate in England. Compton is lively and friendly, even among the lower ranks. I am growing to like him a lot. I can tell because I really felt for him when he got hurt later in the show.
“Bull” Randleman is featured in this episode, from his snappy advice to the green soldiers to his adventures in a barn when he’s MIA from Easy. I love how they queued the meaningful theme music when Bull came back to Easy, reminding us of the deeper themes running through the film — all without too much sap. I thought I’d never feel close to anyone but Winters, but Randleman is separating from the pack. So has Compton and Nixon, George Luz and Malarkey.
Actually, I really love it when we cut to Winters and Nixon. They are such a pair! They really care for each other and are really good friends. I totally adored it when Winters thought “Nix” was hurt and kept staring at him, until Nixon gasps, “Quit lookin’ at me like that!” Gosh, I love those two.
Another favorite scene was where injured Compton tells Malarkey to “let the Germans take care of me.” Genre self-sacrifice, I know, but what can I say? I love war-induced selflessness. Another keeper moment is when one celebratory Dutch woman (among the many throngs threatening to keep Easy from moving through Holland) gives Winters a smack on the cheek. And he doesn’t even care, just gets it over with and continues on with the mission. And then there’s the sweet part where Webster gives his chocolate to a Dutch kid.
By the way, check out my Photobucket account for icons like these I created from this episode and others. Please credit “inhonoredglory” if you use. That is all; thank you!