Monday, July 22, 2013
Retro Review: Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A Graphic Yet Powerful Masterpiece About The Horrors Of War
We have seen many war movies over the years, but in my opinion, what makes Saving Private Ryan stands out is how the film's graphic scenes of violence represents war's harsh realities and how it deals with such themes as sacrifice and the powerful bonds of brotherhood.
Saving Private Ryan is set in WWII and is about Cpt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) who, along with his team, is sent to find a missing soldier known as Pvt. James Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers died in combat, and bring him home in order to spare his mother from experiencing any further grief.
What I Liked About It:
The thing that I loved the most about this film was how it reminds us that war is hell, but nothing is sugarcoated. Every place that the main characters go to which has broken down buildings and scattered debris, as well as each battlefield shown, gives a sense of danger. Plus, the scenes of violence and carnage are very intense and bloody, especially the film's famous opening 27 minutes. It feels like you are actually there when you watch it, maintaining the film's grim realism, and I applaud the phenomenal direction from Mr. Steven Spielberg for that.
The actors also do a fine job as well, and I especially loved how the film gears its focus on all the main characters and not just one in particular. Tom Hanks delivers a fine performance as Cpt. Miller, who normally focuses on the missions rather than the men, but when the mission IS a man, he becomes emotionally conflicted yet he tries to hide it from his comrades. Another actor that really stood out in my opinion was Jeremy Davies, who plays Cpl. Upham, a skeptical soldier who is very timid and horrified by what he experiences in the war. Edward Burns, Giovanni Ribisi, Barry Pepper, Paul Giamatti, and Matt Damon also give amazing supporting performances as well.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Consensus: Overall, Saving Private Ryan is an epic masterful interpretation of the sheer terror of war. It's phenomenally directed, has powerhouse acting and a powerful thematic story. It is a very important film that earns its title of not just the best war movie I've seen, but one of the greatest movies I've ever seen.