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Saving Private Ryan
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Dreamworks Pictures & Paramount Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Don't even think of taking them unless you want to give them nightmares.
Date Movie: She might cower onto your shoulder, and you'll probably ask her for a tissue.
Gratuitous Sex: None.
Gratuitous Violence: More violence than the most graphic horror film ever made.
Action: It's a war film by Spielberg - lots.
Laughs: Some chuckles that make you connect with the actors even more so that when they get blown away you are crushed.
Memorable Scene: A bunch:
- A wounded soldier, in shock, with his arm missing, reaching down to pick up his arm.
- The private's sniper shot killing the German sniper in the tower.
- The death scene at the radar installation.
- The ending.
- Oh, hell, the entire freakin' movie.
Memorable Quote: "Don't shoot. Let them burn."
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Produced By: Steven Spielberg & Ian Bryce

Saving Private Ryan
A Movie Review

+

MPAA Rated - R

It's 2:50 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
My uncle was part of the D-Day invasion. I don't know exactly where he fit in, what wave, or the events that unfolded around him, mostly because he never really talked about it. Growing up I sometimes found that odd because I was raised on the movies that sure, they didn't always glamorize war, but there was something that didn't seem so horrific that you wouldn't want to talk about it. Those movies showed the heroes, almost how it was cool to be there, and nothing that would make you not want to recollect the memories. Then I saw "Saving Private Ryan." If my uncle's experience was even one fourth of the experience depicted in this movie, I now understand why the subject was always avoided.

There is nothing fun about "Saving Private Ryan," and for what this movie is about there shouldn't be. It opens with a grandfather bringing his family to a war cemetery, and quickly shifts to the story of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks), leading the first wave of troops during the D-Day invasion. I don't know if there has ever been 25ish minutes of film that have set the tone for the rest of the movie as there have been here. 25ish minutes of seeing men die, 25ish minutes of seeing the ocean turn red, 25ish minutes of seeing gunfire whiz by people's heads, 25ish minutes of overcoming the greatest of odds not to wind up dead, and 25ish minutes of war that has never been depicted in such potential accuracy. You can try sometimes to imagine how bad it might have been in an invasion such as D-Day, but even if this movie blows it slightly out of proportion (though I doubt it does) I sat there stunned, wondering how many of the men ever made it through.

Alright, so the first 25ish minutes were pretty gut-wrenching, what about the rest of the film? Well, the previews sum up the story line pretty well - Three of Private Ryan's brothers were killed all around the same time in different battles, and his mother found out about them all at once. Now the government wants to find Private Ryan, who was dropped behind enemy lines, and return him home. It is up to Captain Miller and his small squad to find him and bring him home, alive. That sounds pretty simple, but along the line of the opening sequence we get to see that the trials of war aren't limited to the battles, but to the personal opinions that most of the time had to be suppressed, to the emotional ties that grew in less than a day, how those ties needed to be severed in an instant, and to the lasting memories, like those my uncle probably had, which are many times too powerful to be recanted.

For the over two hours left in the movie we follow Captain Miller, a sergeant, and a bunch of privates as they venture into German held territory looking for Pvt. Ryan (played by Matt Damon). Most of the times they are treated as the support team for the various platoons they come across, all leading to more battles, and after the battle is won, they travel on, even becoming their own platoon in one instance overtaking a left-over radar support team which led to, at least for me, the second most emotional moment in the movie. Each man is his own man, the boy from Brooklyn, the medic, the god-fearing sharp-shooter, the 'talian with the 'tude, and the writer who hasn't shot a gun since basic training. They each are their own, but through it all they form a bond, necessary for survival in the field, as well as off of it, and "Saving Private Ryan" does one of the best job of any movie I have seen in showing that bond, responsible both because of the excellent screenplay, but also because of the incredible acting and portrayals every actor gives in this film (can you give an Academy Award to a group of actors, because in this film the entire bunch deserves it?).

And do they save Private Ryan? Yes, they do, but that doesn't mean that the ending is sappy, that the ending makes you leave forgetting the rest of the film, or that the ending will make you leave saying "Wow, what a good movie, except for that cheesy ending." No, the beginning of this movie may be the most gut-wrenching of any movie ever made, but the ending is the most heart-wrenching, as we end back in the cemetery where the movie began. From beginning to end your emotions will hit levels that a movie can rarely bring out. Spielberg, Hanks, and everyone else in this movie spared nothing in keeping the realism on the highest level.

Well, it looks like a new challenge has begun - the most realistic movie loosely based on a historical event. It started earlier with "Titanic" and Jim Cameron's pushing for the most realistic sinking of one of the most famous ships of all time. Now that challenge has been pushed to another limit with Spielberg's portrayal of D-Day and war. And you know, I saw "Titanic" a couple of times, and remember the little girlies balling their eyes out when Jack faded into the ocean. The end of "Saving Private Ryan" put that emotional level ten-fold higher. The movie ended, the lights began to come up, and the majority of the crowd just sat there in an emotional silence, with hands wiping the tears from their eyes, and sniffling all of the way out the door. I was one of them.

It's too bad that list of the 100 best movies ever made already came out because "Saving Private Ryan," for me, is the best movie I have ever seen. 6 stars out of 5.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right! L8R!!!

 

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