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Saving Private Ryan

Review #99: Saving Private Ryan

Based during World War II, the movie follows Captain John H Miller and his squad of soldiers as they land on Omaha Beach to try to take out the German forces that have taken over the area.
After the beach landing, the Captain is given a new mission, directly from General George Marshall.
It appears that three of four Brothers, who were all fighting in different areas of Europe, have been killed in action. Captain Miller and his group are tasked with finding the soul surviving Brother, named as Private Ryan, and bring him home to his grieving Mother, before she loses all of her sons.

What a movie. Spielberg's direction is absolutely fantastic. Taking inspiration from a story written by Robert Rodat about eight siblings who died during the American Civil War, Spielberg and his team of geniuses have managed to capture almost everything about the war that people wanted to see.
There are a few quieter moments during the running time, but they're very well put together. The screenplay is the main thing that makes this film work. The terms of sequence is brilliantly placed.

The start sequence is what throws the audience on the backfoot. Ranked Number 1 in The 50 Greatest Movie Moments and Empire Magazine's Best Battle Scene Of All Time, too.
The Omaha Landings are extremely disturbing and realistic, and bearing in mind that Spielberg also had different cameras brought in for the sequence to give it a more realistic look.
A lot of the injured in the film are also real injuries. Spielberg used prosthetic arms and legs on people who genuinely have missing limbs to add an authenticity to the dying and injured soldiers.

Historical accuracy is another hard hitting message that the film hits the audience with.
Reading up in various articles, I found that Spielberg's team of researchers have missed out nothing when it comes to accuracy.
Ok there is some artistic license used in the film, but the backdrop of World War II has been picked through with a fine toothed comb.

The movie as a whole, is almost like Full Metal Jacket. It starts out with one style of movie, then drops that act and goes pretty quiet a few times throughout.
Though a lot of the movie's action and battle scenes are quite unexpected too.

When the action gets going though, Spielberg spares no expense when it comes to budget and also realism in the scenes.
The effects, the choreography, the acting throughout and the screenplay of the action is by far the most hard hitting of any film.

The battle hardened 'vets' of the squad vary in character too. Some are more human and wear their hearts on their sleeves, others are extremely hard on the outside and don’t ever bend or break in their quests.
The troops also talk about real things, rather than just the mission. Memories from home etc, and it gives the whole backdrop of the war a very human and sombre feel.
It gives the audience a connection, in a sentimental way yes, but a connection to the brave men that fought all those years ago, rather than just nameless faces and faceless names that our generation has come to know.
The conversations about their mission come into play too. When it does, it makes the audience realise how fruitless it is to have wars on such a massive scale when it comes down to loss of human life.
It's all extremely character driven. Thumbs up.
What makes the character writing work though, is the on screen chemistry between them. They're very real.

The overall acting however, not just the well written characters, but the acting... is by far the most inspiring work I've seen in a war movie.
Tom Hanks as Captain Millar is seriously impressive. I was shocked at how good he is in the film. He's tough yet human and has a fairness about his personal morals.

With support from an ensemble Hollywood cast of heavweights including Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Edward Burns, Adam Goldberg, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti and...

Matt Damon as the titular Private Ryan. Damon is incredibly naturalistic in the role as the Brother-to-be-saved. His confusion over the circumstance of his rescue and the loss of life that he has just suffered are all portrayed with such realism from Damon. His confusion over why this is all happening is also handled wonderfully.
He's only on screen for maybe 25 minutes, but he really makes an impression.

All in all, the finest action/drama/action drama/war movie that has ever graced the big, and small, screen.
Full of haunting memory and wonderfully non-cheesy-sentiment and a screenplay that will live with the viewer for a long time.
A must see. An absolute must see.
My rating 101%