Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saving Private Ryan

Movie Name: Saving Private Ryan
Year of Release: 1998
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Farina, Max Martini, Dylan Bruno
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis & Review:
Director Steven Spielberg followed his prolific year of 1997 (where he released two films, "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "Amistad"), with one huge success, which ended up winning him his second Oscar for best director, the celebrated and iconic "Saving Private Ryan". The film starts on the morning of June 6th 1944, with the allies landing on the coasts of Normandy, depicting the ferocity and violence of war. The film then shifts the focus of the story to Captain John H. Miller, who is tasked with assembling a unit of troops to go and find James Ryan, the youngest and sole survivor of 4 brothers all of whom have been sent to war. Miller assembles a diverse group of soldiers, and they all start their quest to find Ryan. After a failed attempt, they finally locate the soldier but decide to stay in that area since it's a crucial one to the allies efforts.
"Saving Private Ryan" is a fantastic film from an accomplished master. Sadly though it also exhibits one of Steven Spielberg's worst traits: his unrelenting need to sentimentalize and overdo stories that speak for themselves. "Saving Private Ryan" has one of the most strikingly well done entrance shots, one that inspired several other films and TV shows - the brutality of the depiction of the atrocities of war is astonishing, as is the overall tone of the rest of the quest the soldiers embark on. It's a film that manages to showcase the hardship, sacrifices that are made by people while in situations as extreme as wars. However, towards the end of the film, there's this mawkish tone that is introduced when a contemporary view of one of the central characters comes into light, destroying the tone and poetry that was captured by the rest of the film. The cast is uniformly good, with Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper and Giovanni Ribisi creating memorable characters. The cinematography from Janusz Kaminski is stunning as is the score from legendary John Williams. A short of brilliant film by a master storyteller.