Times of Oman
Times Digital Download: Band of Brothers
May 14, 2017 | 8:31 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan
Band of Brothers a show worthy of watching not once, but over and over again.
 
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The World War II has always fascinated me, as it has millions of military and history lovers the world over. From Saving Private Ryan featuring Tom Hanks and Enemy at the Gates starring Jude Law, to Nicholas Cage’s Windtalkers and the Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale flick Pearl Harbor, there have been a plethora of productions that have provided insight into one of the darkest periods of human history.

None of them, however, have the depth and grittiness that Tom Hanks’ Steven Spielberg’s award-winning Band of Brothers TV ministries provides. Set in the year 1943, Band of Brothers puts viewers in the trenches with Easy Company, who were, in reality, one of the first ever paratrooper battalions formed in the history of military warfare.

There’s something that unites all of the paratroopers who’ve turned up at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, to begin their military training before they’re shipped across the Atlantic to Britain, and from there: Dropped over mainland Europe in the Normandy Landings, an operations that still ranks as one of the biggest military expeditions of all times.

All of the men in the US Airborne divisions are volunteers, brave men who know that when they’re in the thick of a fight, dropped into enemy territory, that the man next to them will not scarper when faced with German artillery fire and machine gunners, but have their back even in the hardest of situations.



From running up and down the three-mile hill of Currahee in the shortest amount of time, in full kit and with all their equipment, to eight hour-long night marches, from arduous obstacle courses and mock parachute drops, the men of Easy Company are put through their paces to condition them for what they will face in France.

But nothing compares to the madness, the chaos and the jaw-dropping force with which the full impact of the World War II bludgeons these recruits. It is here that their true fighting spirt and camaraderie are brought to the fore, as the soldiers slowly but steadily hammer back the Nazis from the beaches of France on D-Day, to their rapier quick thrusts across the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden, the paratroopers of Easy Company are the Western Front’s go-to guys when it comes to pushing the Germans back across the Rhine and into the Fatherland.

It’s not just their skill in warfare, but their sheer doggedness and determination, that makes them such feared and revered soldiers: As winter sets in across Europe, the beleaguered forces of Easy, with no warm clothing and in the face of overwhelming opposition, fearlessly hold the line, as they wait for the Allies to regroup and aid them, having been scattered by a German blitzkrieg across the Ardennes forest.

Spielberg spared no expense when it came to ensuring the immaculate detail and authenticity. At its time, it was the most expensive show of all time. Before each episode was shot, scripts were often handed to the actual soldiers of Easy Company, who’d served as comrades-in-arms across Europe.

They’d fought together, taken Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, liberated thousands from the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Dachau, liberated Austria from her German overlords, and at times, even died together, often in their comrades’ arms. It’s the sheer quality of the acting that really brings out the emotions and selfless actions of the soldiers who didn’t think twice before paying the ultimate sacrifice. Actors were chosen not just on the basis of how good they were, but also how much of a resemblance they had to the soldiers they were portraying.

British actor Damian Lewis plays Richard Winters, the central character of the series. The Homeland and Romeo and Juliet star ties the entire series together, and provides the level-headedness that tempers a show that is understandably rife with emotions.

His best friend is Lewis Nixon, played by American actor Ron Livingston (Sex and the City, Boardwalk Empire and Office Space). Both of them are Toccoa men the others look up to for guidance. Donnie Wahlberg (Saw and The Practice) is Sgt Carwood Lipton, a man who can always be counted on to be there for his men, as is Donald Malarkey (Scott Grimes from ER and NCIS: Los Angeles) and Joe Leibgott (Ross McCall of White Collar fame).

It’s not the names of the actors that matter in Band of Brothers, but how they rise to the challenge of playing some of the bravest, selfless individuals in history. It’s a job that they do admirably well, with such conviction and brilliance that aside from actually being armed with a rifle and given a white, billowy parachute, you actually feel like you’re in the thick of the fight with them, buried in a foxhole, with the tension so palatable you can almost taste it.

Making Band of Brothers a show worthy of watching not once, but over and over again.

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The Short and Skinny

Name:
Band of Brothers

Genre: Action/History/Non-fiction

Channel: HBO

Producer: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks

Runtime: 60 minutes

What’s it about: Easy Company are called to fight for the United States and her Allies as they attempt to turn the tide of the war against Adolf Hitler and the forces of oppression in this award-winning miniseries

Where to watch: HBO, TV.com, Amazon

IMDB Rating: 9.5/10

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