Monday, December 8, 2008

Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan is one of those war movies that I enjoyed watching when I was in high school. In fact, I even saw it as a blueprint for making war movies. As I got older, I still like this film and I'll watch it again just for the depiction of the Normandy landings at the beginning. Nonetheless, this doesn't mean that the film is exempted of flaws.

After he took part to the Normandy landings (in the Omaha sector) as an American ranger, Captain John Miller receives another mission. With seven other men, Miller must find a soldier from the 101st Airborne Division called James Francis Ryan and escort him until he's brought back to the USA. Besides, Ryan must be brought back home, because three of his brothers were killed at war.

You'll certainly remember this movie for its intense depiction of the Normandy landings at the beginning. In a moment that nearly last for half an hour, Spielberg does combine an excellent cinematography and a stunning editing that doesn't spare us from the horrors of war. Aside from its intense action scenes, Saving Private Ryan has a rather conventional script about courage and sacrifice that shouldn't dismay anyone. In fact, unlike war films like Pearl Harbor or Passchendaele, this film has the merit of actually focusing on a specific thing, which is the mission of Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks). Add to that the fact that movie centres on Miller's squad. Therefore, don't expect to see a rather complex story in this film. In fact, between two action scenes, it's surprising that the script does minimally develop the main characters. Therefore, it even allows us to see how these characters feel about war and also the mission itself without being stereotyped.

Secondly, although there's no actor that stands out from the cast, let's admit that its performance is uniformly impeccable. Some will say that this movie doesn't represent Tom Hanks' most intense performance up to date, but he does a very good job in leading all the cast. Besides, he's very well supported by his colleagues whether it's Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper or Jeremy Davies, for instance.

Finally, anyone who likes war movies should be pleased by this film. However, there were times when I found that the movie was a little bit too long, which were the scenes the character-building scenes. Nonetheless, Saving Private Ryan is still a good entertainment. Enough said, just enjoy the film!

Rating: 4/5

Saving Private Ryan
USA (1998)
Length: 169 minutes
Genre: War drama
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper and Tom Sizemore

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