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Saving Private Ryan (1998)
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Review Date: April 04, 1999
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Robert Rodat
Producers: I. Bryce, M. Gordon, G. Levinsohn, S. Spielberg
Actors:
Tom Hanks as Captain John Miller
Tom Sizemore as Sergeant Horvath
Matt Damon as James Ryan
Plot:
A troupe of eight soldiers is given a mission to rescue one James Francis Ryan from the depths of the war. This order is trickled down directly from the top, after it is learned that the Ryan family has lost their three only other sons in the same war.
Critique:
Absolutely genuine, graphic, testament of the actual horrors of war given by the way of skilled direction, a solid cast of performances, a genuinely touching conclusion and an unapologetic portrayal of the humanity and inhumanity suffered by all. Now despite having seen this film after all of the hoopla was over, I still managed to be extremely impressed by its gripping tale, authenticity and ultimate raw power. The first and last scenes were the ones that had me clenched heartily to my seat, feeling the intensity, the bravery and the insanity within all of the panic. While other sequences had me literally crying for their pain, their loss and their lives given away to free and save others. Unlike THE THIN RED LINE (5/10), this movie actually had a plot and drawn-out characters to whom we could relate and invest our attention.

Its biggest compliment relates to its extensive three hour run-time, which didn't seem to phase me one bit. This film had me by the balls from the get-go and kept pounding me with an interesting array of characters, solid guidance and a cast that was primed for the occasion. Standouts included Giovanni Ribisi and Tom Sizemore in my eyes, but all were extremely integral to the whole of the story. I commend Spielberg for bringing out the best in his players, and bringing to screen a variant version of "just another War movie". I did find that the fast-action camera technique was a tad overused, but who am I to argue with a genius of American cinema. All in all, an engaging film about a bleak subject told via a simple story, great characters, realistic and gruesome combat scenes, and a vision of a man graced with the talent to direct it all into a coherent and emotional page of human and cinematic history.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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