Here are some of my thoughts after watching ‘The English Surgeon’ –
– Linear structure : the events seems to be unfolding in time.
For example, it shows the journey where Henry Marsh was approached and he travels to Ukraine and the story starts to unfold from there.
– There is also no confusion between ambiguity and lack of clarity.
It shows that Henry Marsh was a passionate yet realistic doctor who isn’t afraid to tell the truth to the patients.
Especially the part where there was a line outside the clinic queuing for his consultation and the patients trust him for his skills and opinions.
– There is a build up in the characters where they were introduced and exposed themselves in separate scenes.
It makes the viewers feels comfortable as it felt so real, anticipating the changes that each characters are going to make.
– I like the use of archives of the young girl where after the surgery, she was paralysed. The editor pieced the archives and the film together really nicely, giving it a nice touch.
– The part where Henry Marsh is interested in carpentry, doing his own box of equipments, also tells a lot about this doctor. It shows that he is humble, someone who isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty
and going an extra mile for his patients.
– The part where going to the local market with the Ukraine doctor was interesting as the audience gets to see the process of preparation of the surgery.
-There were also many different styles of shot. I like the close up shots when Henry was operating on Marian. It can find myself cringing at those moments during the surgery.
For example, there were many scenes with close up of Henry’s face. It shows the emotions and the tension that he is facing.
There is so much to learn about this documentary, the part where he is joking while doing surgery, constantly checking whether the patient is doing okay. It shows the light side
of the whole surgery and his attempt to make the patient feel optimistic.
There is a clever use of the sad music at the beginning and throughout the films, almost manipulative.
But I find that it kind of brings out the sad emotions that the filmmaker wants to portray in this film.
It allows me to anticipate that the sad part of the film is going to be shown next and be prepared for it.
I think what hit me the most in this film was the element of hope that Henry Marsh gave his patients.
Although he was brutally honest in his opinions, he understands the price of the things happened, especially after the young girl incident. Which he feels deeply guilty about it.
He tries to give his honest opinions and in some cases, and he feels that giving hope is one of the things that keeps a patient positive and happy.
Questions to ponder
I can’t help to think that what if Marian’s personality wasn’t as lively and positive. Would it add on to the tension and intensity of the surgery?
Would it lead the audience to think that the ending was not going to be good?
These thoughts are based on me watching the film for the first time, I will probably watch it again and who knows, some of my thoughts might change and I might discover new things that I’ve missed?