SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
Written by : Richard Rodat
Directed by : Steven Spielberg
Main Cast : Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon
Length : 170 min approx
Rating : * * * out of * * * * *
Official Web Site: http://www.rzm.com/pvt.ryan/SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.
This Review Filed: 26 September, 1998.
NOTHING SPECIAL TO SAVEWe've heard the message that "war is hell" about a gazillion times, and we've watched it retold with varying body counts, different contexts (Vietnam, World War One, Midway, Pearl Harbour, etc), a whole gamut of different directors, a whole slew of different faces and a torrent of public opinions that range from welcome, satisfaction, celebration and plain horror and distaste. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, like many Spielberg movies, comes into our hands with lots of lyrical praise waxed about its artistry, vision, poignant message and amazing depictions of war. But it really isn't that great a movie after all, I mean it.
Many have jumped on the bandwagon of lauding the opening sequence of PRIVATE RYAN with being a definitive cinematic experience, and being a horrifying and realistic depiction of the landing of American troops on Normandy in June 1944. The real opening sequence is a fluttering American flag against the sky, and a tubby old man doddering around Normandy in present day looking for the grave of someone who died during the war, presumably his friend. Clearly this is going to turn out to be Private Ryan, whom we find in not so prosperous days (yes, he used to look like Matt Damon too). It reminds me so much of the gratuitous conclusion to SCHINDLER'S LIST, where all the descendants of the Jews Schindler saved lay stones on his grave, and are named one by one by subtitles as though it were a docudrama and not a movie. It's often cheesy and indulgent, and extremely unnecessary. This is not to mention the entire family of this aged Private Ryan scampering after him (and they play all of five minutes importance to the whole plot), and Ryan himself concluding the movie so patheticallyŠ but I'll get to that later.
The problem with PRIVATE RYAN is that it has one too many flaws which prevent it from attaining that status of a masterpiece, and this has long been a nagging trait of Spielberg's recent dramatic films like SCHINDLER'S LIST and AMISTAD.
One big problem is the sinful explicitness of scenes that at the same time get us no closer to the truth. In SCHINDLER'S LIST the frightening Auschwitz concentration camp is so easily portrayed as just bleak buildings in snow that it severely diminishes any kind of emotional weight it might have carried if less explicitly depicted. In AMISTAD the cruelties of slave traders to kidnapped Africans on a ship are shown with such callousness that it resembles nothing more than a gratuitous excuse for a body count.
But it is a body count with no feeling attached to it. With SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the so-called mind-blowing landing of American troops on the Normandy beachhead approximates this same explicitness to no real effect. Sure there are men torn in half, limbs cast about, blood raining on everyone, bullets cracking open heads and dead men everywhere, but the scenes are so excessive, and invested with so little care, that all we are left with after that protracted war sequence (and it is long enough to dissolve any tension, believe me), are the two words : "So what?"
One can jump to PRIVATE RYAN's defence and cry that this callousness about life is precisely the message that Spielberg is trying to convey, but I think that's a pretty pathetic cop-out of a message. If the callousness of life were indeed the point, then we shouldn't be numbed by the death toll but instead anguished by it instead.
I remember an Edward Zwick film called GLORY, where enough characterisation was done so that while many died needlessly in the American Civil War, their deaths weren't nameless and were attached to a painful sadness at their passing. If the blatant disregard for life and the nameless deaths were what Spielberg was driving at, he managed to make us just as disregarding and just as uncaring as any other person on the Normandy beachhead. While making us callously complicit is quite an interesting turn, I doubt if that was what Spielberg was even faintly driving at (the rest of the film dithers around vague heroism in war), and I don't believe it's even an appropriate meaning that should be associated with the deaths of so many, especially when the film opens with some pseudo-patriotic American flag fluttering and the anguish of an older Private Ryan over the deaths of his friends.
That's one big problem, explicitness without feeling and meaning. Another problem is my own minor complaint about the expectations I build on the reputation of Spielberg and his team of film-makers. A team of eight men are assigned to rescue Private James Francis Ryan, and you can guess that after awhile, members of this team start dying in combat. The problem is, even though one member has been killed earlier, the whole team viewed from a distance still numbers eight. This really got to me for some reason, it's almost like shadows of cameraman appearing in the scene or reflections of the whole film crew manifesting in the shiny surface of car paint in some movies (like LA CONFIDENTIAL, but I guess nobody noticed that). That was quite disappointing.
A third problem I had with PRIVATE RYAN is the question: "Where are we going with this movie?" It is clear we're out to watch Tom Hanks and his team find and save Private Ryan, but while we have minute stabs at apparent philosophical issues like the team of eight risked on a near-suicidal mission for one mama's boy, and the question of whether Ryan actually deserves to be saved, not enough time is given to this discussion. Too much time instead is fed to warfare, action sequences, sound effects and an inordinate amount of bloodshed. Even the characterisation is quite anaemic. And if this movie is supposed to be about heroism (at one short respite from shooting and killing, Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore discuss their roles as soldiers), then surely more effort should be made to flesh out the main characters, their motivations, and the heroism they find in themselves. Instead, not only do members of the team start dropping off like flies, they become just as nameless as the other troops of Americans they join forces withŠ and as faceless as the Germans they're fighting. We don't know them at all- so when they die, it doesn't matter either. There is no heroism in that. And the script's clear recognition of the deficient characterisation comes when all of a sudden, there is a torrent of dialogue as the American soldiers await the arrival of German troops they are going to engage in combat. This conspicuous detour into characterisation comes too much too late, and really much too inappropriate when we've been weaned on warfare sequences for the last two hours.
Where are we going with this movie? PRIVATE RYAN switches from a vague comment about the meaningless sacrifice of lives in war to nothing more or less than an action movie (set in war of course). It just doesn't seem coherentŠ as though the script was really at first about the action movie and some themes of heroism, but that it was Spielberg who ran away with himself in wanting to indulge his portrayal of the landing at Normandy, twisting the thrust of the film until it was no longer clear what he was getting at.
The last 45 minutes of the film sticks out like a sore thumb. It feels like any other cheap action flick, where the good guys set traps for the bad guys in some little base of operations (like a playground drama in fact, where all the nerds come up with ingenious tricks to punish the bullies). So where is this film going? I'm not sure after the landing at Normandy, and by the time Private Ryan (who doesn't want to be saved) is found, he is nothing we expect and not really very interesting at all (unlike of course, Rowan Atkinson who was the mystery prisoner of war saved by Charlie Sheen in HOTSHOTS! PART DEUX- a frivolous film that at least knew how to turn expectation about the mystery character on its head). It's as though the film hasn't any idea what to do with Ryan when it finds him.
Finally, I had a bit of a problem with Private Ryan being saved. He grows up into an old man and is deeply insecure about whether he has earned the right to have survived the war. We've only seen him in some minor skirmishes in the film, but to have the old man ask his wife at the grave of Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) whether he has been a good man or lived a good life is just too much. She says "yes" of course, but instead of reassuring us, I think this casts us into even further doubt about whether the sacrifice of Tom Hanks and his team is worthwhile. How do we know whether Private Ryan has had a good life? Should curiosity be even directed towards his life after the war? And since it is, shouldn't we have more of a reason to believe Private Ryan has led a good life than his three absolutely beautiful granddaughters (and they don't even have speaking partsŠ even his son just says : "Dad?")?
There is just one amazing moment in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN that touched me in a profound way. And that is when the camera follows the progress of the troops as they crawl in the sand towards the machine-gun bunker at the beachhead (gunfire is cutting people to bits as you can guess). We're running behind a soldier, hitting the dirt with the soldier, crawling inch by inch with the soldier, and most of all, for fleeting seconds in time, we're just as insecure as the soldier, with bullets zipping around us and explosions everywhereŠ for just a moment, we're almost afraid we'll get shot too (this is not to mention it might vividly conjure up army days for National Servicemen)- and that insecurity about life, that profound fear, just goes right to the heart of the matter and saves the whole film from being a washout.
Before and after that of course, the cameraman never conveys anything quite as lucid and gripping again. One may gasp in wonder at a later scene of explosions lighting up the night sky and Tom Hanks and his team walking the land, but we need to realise what that beautiful and exquisite scene is truly about- Spielberg indulging in meaningless imagery for the sake of meaningless imagery, and never actually getting the message across.
The Flying Inkpot's Rating System* Wait for the TV2 broadcast.
** A little creaky, but still better than staying at home with Gotcha!
*** Pretty good, bring a friend.
**** Amazing, potent stuff.
***** Perfection. See it twice.
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To whom it may concern: I would like to convey to you that I strongly disagree with your review of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. I respect the fact that you have your own opinion, but now I would ask you to listen to mine. I think that trying to pass this off as any old "action flick" is wrong. I believe that this is the most realistic representation of war on film, and to bash it as an average movie with no feeling is an insult to those who gave their lives on D-Day. This is their legacy. This movie is full of graphic violence and bloodshed because that was the real thing. Try giving war a bad review because it's too bloody and gory. Six of my relatives fought in WW2, including one who parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division. They were lucky. They all made it back. Many of their friends didn't. Gratuitous violence. That's really all there is to war in my opinion(not speaking from experience of course). I think you went into the theatre looking for a happy little movie with no blood where all our boys storm the enemy positions and win the day with maybe a casualty or two, and you were unprepared for the reality of warfare that the film portrayed. Most respectively, Chris Scott
just addressed to the comment on top of this one... i believe you need to detach your feelings about the real World War Two from the review about the film. i believe that while World War, and war in general is harrowing and brings with it emotional baggage, there is no reason why a negative review of a film in any way derogates the experience of the war... so be a little fairer in your perspective, no one is out to say that war needs to be a sanitised and easily palatable thing, only that sometimes films give us that fiction, and maybe those that try too hard to show the gritty reality also can't entirely pull it off... i personally feel Saving Private Ryan was no more explicit than Platoon or Full Metal Jacket, and i also think it broke no new ground technically or visually... i also thought the whole story was a bit directionless... because Spielberg didn't seem sure whether he wanted his characters to be heroes or just men, and in adventurously trying to combine the two concepts, he didn't really convince me that Saving Private Ryan was about anything at all. once again, i know war is hell, the trouble is whether we know a film is a film, and whether we give a film too much credit instead of realising it has really been buoyed up by our emotional baggage... no offence to you sir, i hope none is taken. regards
I agree with yr article, I think there's been way too much hype about the movie. Sure, war is portrayed realistically -- but so what? It doesn't make us feel like it's tragic or anything -- just numbs us to the destruction. I think they shd have developed the characters better if they wanted to bring across the tragedy of them being killed. And the story about saving one man is like -- duh?! What's the point? It's too pseudo- poignant but Spielberg doesn't show us what the whole thing means.
It is easy to dismiss Saving Private Ryan as just "another action flick". Most of us who haven't been through military service will just dismiss it lightly. Even though a master "hackster" like Spielberg couldn't convince or even please the most hardcore of disbelievers, the upcoming "The Thin Red Line" might change all your opinions. Wait till Christmas...
I have watched the movie and I think your review is too harsh. This is a great movie and I do love the sights and sound that the director had wanted us to see and hear. I admit that as in move American movies, there is a bit of chest thumping or perhaps it is just typical American arrogance that they think they are responsible for the world. There is one important thought that stayed with me at the end of the movie. The point was that thousands and millions of people, unknown to you and I, had sacrificed their lives, to fight and die for things tangible (family, love ones) or ideas intangible (justice, democracy, freedom). The concept of people who volunteered to fight, to leave their love ones, to maim and to kill or otherwise act in ways inconsistent with their lifestyles and personal beliefs is a thought which chills and warms my heart. The thought that you think you know what your friends would chill us when we examine their actions in battle. The thought that warms our heart is when we think of the noble sacrifice when the US send their man to fight and die on the battlefield for people in France, England and the rest of Europe. In a sense, these people had died to give us a world of freedom which we enjoy today even here in Singapore. In that context, I will give them some leeway to beat their chest and to fly that American flag high.
okay, I know this movie was shown quite some time back but I simply have to say something about your review, which I think is one confused piece of thinking. I wouldn't even bother to point out all your contradictory comments....okay maybe just one...like when you berated Spielberg for his cold detached look at all the deaths of the soldiers but in your next breath, you question what is the relevance of Ryan's crying over his dead riends.??? HUH?? However I agree with you when you said that this movie is far from a masterpiece as lauded by so many. The cardinal flaw I feel that the movie has committed is that it is so MUSHY!!! I really cringed when Matt Damon came out at the end of the movie and asked his wife to affirm that he has led a worthy life :P yucks!!! ptui!!!! And flying that flag...ohmigod!! Spielberg and his cronies must have thought the universe revolves around good ol' US of A!! I mean come on!! WWII involved practically the entire world but all I get out of these hollywood movies is that it is USA against the Nazis, full stop. The rest of the world, if they do not belong to the enemy camp, are simply prisoners waiting for the heroic Americans to rescue them!! THat really made me want to gag, but I refrained from doing that in the cinema due to the greatest exertion of will power!! hehe Okay, unlike your esteemed reviewer, I do feel that the cold detached view of WWII, with regards to the killings, is a very stark and honest look at the brutality of war. To me the message is war is ugly! it is death!! And this message to me is very powerful. Nobody in his right mind would want to go through this kind of horror and waste and destruction. Unfortunately, the power of this message is severly marred by Spielberg's lapsed into characteristic mushy melodrama, that in the end justify and even glorify war by saying that such sacrifices of lives is necessary if there is a greater good involved. That I feel, is and always will be, an excuse brandished by aggressors of conflict...that there is a GOOD REASON!! I feel emphatically that NO!! there is no reason that could ever be good enough for such waste and desecration. Spielberg should have just shown us the senselessness of war and stop there....no justification can ever be enough...especially not glory!!! I am just dreading the accolades that Spielberg will receive at the next Oscars--aiya sure one lah!!! Adeline
Seems there are a lot of insults being passed back and forth on this website (judging by the items mentioned on the "addcomments" cgi) Regardless, I'm disappointed to see there are some in Singapore who seem to feel the need to see American movies - and lash out at American culture - at the same time. (See the "Saving Private Ryan" reviews) If Americans are SO distasteful, then I would think those who feel that way would avoid the hypocrisy by avoiding American culture. But, that rarely happens. Instead, it's a case of "biting the hand that feeds" so-to-speak. Saving Private Ryan was a movie made by an American director and an American studio about an American division that fought in a World War. You'll have to excuse the fact that it's got Americans - I know we're such unpleasant people. (that's sarcasm, by the way) I don't think Americans, or anyone else, for that matter, object to heroism - shown by anyone, not just American heroics. I don't make movies, I simply watch them, as you do. However, please keep your complaints directed at those who MAKE the movies. Americans don't think they are the only ones "responsible for the world" (I think too many have forgotten that we ALL are responsible) - or think that we are the only ones out there who matter. If we did, we wouldn't have shown up for the second World War, among other things. And to the reviewer from Singapore who acknowledged this ("Andrew" on Nov 10, I believe), I say thank you. However, I visited Singapore in 1995 - as an American naval officer - and was looked upon with disdain, at the least. So I'll say it now, and get it over with - I am tired of hearing comments thrown at "Americans." If you have a problem with a movie, direct it at the movie, not at Americans in general. Despite what many may think, we've contributed quite a bit to society at large. Thanks.
to wenqing: with all due respect, i think you've totally missed the point about Saving Private Ryan, because you were unable to separate your own natural reactions to the blood and gore from the challenges that the film posed to these natural reactions. Let me explain. A filmmaker once said (to the effect) that it is impossible to make an antiwar war movie because war is action, and action on film always gives us a rush. Saving Private Ryan, in my opinion, comes closest than any other war film that i've seen (not that i've seen a damn lot)in sending out strong anti-war messages. However, when i was watching it , I was very conscious of myself at points sitting back and enjoying the thrill of the action, the adrenalin rush, even though the way speilberg shot the film made it so clear that if this is war, then i hope i never have a taste of it. Example: the scene when the german soldier was locked in close combat with an american soldier, and both of them were just shouting at each other and trying to pin each other down. It was not hatred for each other i saw on their faces, but fear: the only reason at that point for any of them to kill the other was because if he doesn't, he will be killed. Thus when the amercian soldier shouted for the german to stop, i suddenly realised that because they couldn't understand each other's language, they didn't know they were desperately appealling to each other rather than screaming death at each other. In the end, the death of the amercian soldier was so damn sad because it was so damn pointless. It was a sense of the pathetic, rather than heroic, that spielberg wants us to feel. However, i was conscious of the thrill i felt when i watched that scene, because on one level it was like watching Arnold Swarznegger wrestling with an enemy in an action flick. Thus it was my own conditioned instincts towards action that is at the root of the problem, and it is to the credit of the film that those instincts are made conscious and uncomfortable with the portrayal of war violence in this film. It is my belief, from reading your article, that you thought spielberg was playing up those instincts rather than questioning them. The point about showing the pointlessness of war isn't just that. And this is where i think you have made a fundamental mistake that many reviewers make about films that depict pointlessness, be it about war, or life or whatever. For example, lesser reviewers might question the value of Wong Kar Wai's work by asking: what is the point of showing the pointlessness of relationships in modern city life? They do not see that the showing helps us recognize it, and in recognzing it, move to us an emotional response. Therefore as i mentioned earlier, the pointless death of the american soldier made me feel sad. The bravado-heroism of the american flag at the opening sequence is greatly questioned, diminished and made pointless when the flag flies again at the end of the film, because we have seen what that call for heroism means now. And we might feel angry, or sad, or both, or some other emotion. Tom Hank's search for his heroic self (he keeps reiterating that saving pte ryan might just be the act that would give some meaning to his place in this whole madness) is a futile (yet totally human) act because nothing can give anyone meaning in such a world gone mad. The pointlessness of his search makes us question the idea of heroism, and pity him and fear for him, instead of putting him up on a pedestal as an example of a war hero. And this is ultimately what makes this film an anti-war film whereas Glory is just a war film because this film wakes us up to the idea that there is nothing heroic about killing and dying in war. (My comment on Glory is based on your comments about the film in your review; i didn't watch it.) There's still lots more to say about this film, but i will leave it here and hope i've made my few points in a clear manner to prod you to reconsider your appraisal of this film. The last thing i want to say for now is that i left the film feeling sad for both the german and american soldiers and i kept thinking to myself: better death than go through meaningless life like this.
actually i have a feeling that people who write to this comments area haven't caught very many war films. i can't say i've seen a whole lot, but i have caught lots of vietnam war films, and i must say that when they want to show us that war is pointless, they don't muddle up the message the way spielberg does. like platoon or apocalypse now or born on the fourth of july... movies like that... i know that the director has a message, it is clear and the vision is unerring. but with private ryan, the pointlessness of war doesn't evoke for me the sense of anguish it ought to. instead of just plain images that don't move one to emotional responses, the script ought to have been more emotive about a bit of sadness and pain- instead (and here i actually agree with the reviewer)we find that detours into characterisation are plainly conspicuous as afterthoughts and "whoops i forgot to make u feel for the guy who is about to die in a few minutes, so i ought to write him some humanising dialogue just for effect". i thought that was pretty pathetic. the worse thing is, i think it's a mere pauper's deconstruction to say that a film is so open that everyone is allowed to interpret what they want... because if that's the case, then the director abdicates his vision and that's so cop-out it sounds like a loser's claim to poseur genius when he's just a loose-handed film-maker... i think so anyway. and yeah i did watch Glory too, and i liked it immensely because it was about the humans trapped in a brutal Civil War conflict... i mean, that was truly humanising because of the strength of vision. at least the director didn't pretend he was being smarty-farty and give us nothing much to work on. and as for the action being harrowing, which is what everyone in the world continues to laud praise on private ryan for... i mean, no less harrowing than say, hamburger hill or platoon... i mean, no big diff except maybe people just WANT to say "good job steven spielberg, amistad sucked and so did Lost World, but ahem maybe this is something we can pretend is worth its salt... even if it isn't"... that's what i think. maybe we ought ot reconsider jumping on the bandwagon of praising private ryan AFTER watching more war movies and seeing how a better director can control his vision. and don't get me wrong, i don't think spielberg is inherently baaaaad, he just doesn't have it anymore... i think it started going downhill as early as jurassic park... sad sad sad
think you missed the whole point of the movie. not about the horror of war but of the sacrifice.
This film has been touted as authentic and realistic, yet even the preview is terribly flawed. No combat infantry officer would consider, (or be allowed) to wear his rank painted on the front of his helmet. That is like telegraphing the enemy to "shoot me first, I'm the leader". I'll probably skip this movie because if they didn't know that obvious detail, how accurate can the rest of it be?
i would like to shoot that person who wrote this review. i think he shouldn't be allowed to go see movies like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN because after seeing it he gets confused and doesn't know what it is about. thats why he wrote so much bull-shit about the movie.
Wow. Interesting perspective on this movie, but I feel bad for you. You seem so caught up on scrutinizing movies for tiny little smudges, then using them to disparage the whole picture. I get the feeling you might have reviewed "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with a comment such as 'Exciting at times, yes, but peoples' heads melting and exploding? How often does THAT happen in real life?' No-one will ever read this, because I found the site of late, and there has already been too many responses, but as a self-styled connoiseur of war movies, I will render my own opinion of this movie: It is quite simply the most engaging, thrilling, and realistic war picture ever made. No-one would ever believe how many books I have read about WWII (Over a five year stint as a prison guard working the graveyard shift); its battles, its soldiers, its weapons and equipment, but after watching "Saving Private Ryan", I not only found appreciation for its first person perspective on the D-day beach landing, but was also thoroughly impressed by Spielberg's (a man whose movies I generally love, despite your correctly diagnosed, increasingly obvious dialogue and character development flaws) attention to detail and apparent insistence on technical accuracy. This is the first war movie I can recall seeing in which actual german armored vehicles were used (Or, at least, amazingly accurate mock-ups). More to the point, regardless of what anyone might think about the climactic battle scene, Spielberg (or more probably, the screenplay's writer) has come up with a wholly believable conflict, particularly in the time frame surrounding D-day. The invading allies were scattered, disoriented and disorganized, and the germans were scrambling to rally forces to meet them. Who knows how many times this same conflict played out; especially over possession of a bridge, during the real war. But Spielberg managed to accomplish something in his movie no other war movie has ever done for the viewer - put him/her ON one side of that bridge, waiting for the germans. Even if you deny the plausibility of this story, you must admit no other war movie has given you the 'on the edge-of-your-seat' tension this one gave you as you heard the rumbling and gearing of that tiger tank approaching, and waited for it to reveal itself. The one glaring historical flaw I noted was Spielberg's (or, again, the screenplay writer's) use of General Marshall as the one who comes up with the admittedly half-assed plan to risk eight soldiers' lives to find one private, in what amounts to a public relations mission. The less-informed may view this as reality, and it is a bit of a disparagement to one of the most realistic, logical and brilliant generals of this war to suggest he might have come up with such an irresponsible, half-baked idea such as this; touching civil war tales notwithstanding. I was able to get past this unreality, however, to enjoy the story for what it was: Exciting, otherwise realistic fiction. It seems a pity you were too engaged with evaluating Spielberg's film school faux pas' to do the same. I would be very interested to read your opinion of "The Thin Red Line". It seems to be more in line with your regimented idea of what a war film should involve, though I personally believe it is the worst 'war' movie I have ever seen.
I suspect that you don't know much about WWII. I further suspect that you don't know much about great movies. Sorry to be so blunt, but you really missed the whole point of Saving Private Ryan. My Uncle was in the 101st airborne, 506th regiment, B company - same as private Ryan. He had NO complaints about the movie.
I have now read a number of reviews of saving private ryan and fail to understand how a movie reviewe can give anything but unstinting praise to such an empathetic, sympathetic, hardhitting narrative which opens up all kinds of difficult ideas about cowardice, heroism and killing. although i found the review challenging, that's about all it was, in a kind of self-indulgent attention getting way. to denigrate this achievement is, i think, petty and self-serving and puts a negative spin on a work that stands out far above the dross that hollywood, dollar-driven as it is, is obliged to turn out to achieve the highest return on its invested capiral. seen from that point of view, spielberg has, yet again, come through with a quality piece of filmmaking
I think anyone who reads Stephen Ambrose's D-Day and Citizen Soldiers will appreciate how accurate and well-crafted Saving Private Ryan really is. People do grow old. All of us shall. But these heroes who sailed and marched into harm's way are well served by this accurate and measured account. The aforementioned books, to which this film owes both its content and its flavor, are first-hand accounts of actual participants in the first days and weeks of the invasion of Europe. The webmaster would be wise to study his subject before spewing forth opinions based more on predetermined emotion than on any careful examination of the film or its subject.
I totally disagree. I have seen this movie twice, and I have never seen a movie theater so quiet after a movie. People walked out of the theater with their heads down and tears in there eyes. Hows that for an emotional response?
Your review of Saving Private Ryan is very good in its own context. I should like to add, from a military history buffs point, that the film, including the opening sequence, is completely innaccurate as presented to the movie audience. Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts.
I would like to counter your review of Saving Private Ryan. I felt this was an incredible movie compared to most war films. That is why it recieved 5 Academy Awards! Further more I feel that your review was rude. I have relatives that were in Omaha Beach and in Normandy and thought that movie was a great portrayal of the war. You are being disrespectful to our elders when you put this movie down. I give it ***** stars.
You SUCK! you wouldn't know a good movie if it hit you in the face!
Personally, I think the movie dipicts history exactly as it was. It does not embellish it and stays true to the past. In this movie, unlike others, solidiers are killed ruthlessly. Their deaths are gory- not clean or even surgical. When Miller gets to France, you see life exactly as it was... terrified civilians, their home destroyed by the war. This was life. You seem to be so absorbed in being entertained by the movie, that you sound as if you missed its point... you have no sympathy nor respect for the millions of people who died in WW2. This movie was made in their memory and you wrip it apart so nochalantly. Well, your review wasn’t perfect either. You imply that Miller's mission does not seem realistic or even "worth it" because a "team of eight" would probably not risk "a near-suicidal mission for one mama's boy." Didn't you hear them make references to the twelve Sullivan brothers whose mother found out they were all killed on the same day??? The movie was INSPIRED by the REAL life story of Fritz Niland (New Yorker with 4 brothers) who was taken out of combat after 2 of his brothers died on D-day and the last one was reported missing (and presumed dead) at Burma. Fritz was eventually found in Normandy. So it’s not so unrealistic to send to send 8 men... near the enemy lines to save the life of one. You said, "It feels like any other cheap action flick, where the good guys set traps for the bad guys in some little base of operations (like a playground drama in fact, where all the nerds come up with ingenious tricks to punish the bullies)." I do not understand how this makes the movie a “cheap action flick.” I always thought the GOOD GUYZ did win WWII (but maybe I'm wrong) by ingenious tricks... how else do you win a war? Do you think that Speilberg should have let the Germans wipe out the entire American army and win at the end, just to make his film different from other action films (by letting the bad guys win, changing history, and that sort of thing)? Yeah, I agree with you that we did hear the message "War is Hell" about a gazillion times, but you still don't seem that you understand what that means. Go back to Highschool U.S. History.
What in the world did Tom Hanks wisper to Private Ryan at the end of the movie? "James, ernest, ernest"? I couldn't understand if that is what he said, and if it was, what did he mean.
to say this movie is not a masterpiece is a big mistake.the impact which shuudders your seat and a need for seat belts is desperately felt ,the war impact drools down tears and puts you across the screen on normady and searches ryan from the bottom of your heart. excellent performances by every character has put you in the real situation and feeling the grief and the pain in the hearts of the actuals who fought the war ,the germans,the americans.the subject of the film itself is a masterpiece so the rest is thus one.
Perhaps some of the meaninglessness of this film reflects upon the random meaninglessness of war. Perhaps Speilberg doesn't wish to dig too deep into the characters because he wants to show that not all war situations include you and seven buddies from your old neighboorhood (aka Dead Presidents, Born on the Fourth of July). Maybe he is trying to show how scary not only war is, but how scary it is when you are trusting your life in the hands of several others that you really don't know. My Grandfather served in WWII, and he stated that this is as real as it gets(moviewise). The bottom line is: If this movie doesn't scare the shit out of you, not a whole lot will!
I am sorry you misunderstood the movie. You are the first person I have heard decry it. Everyone else has been overwhelmed with the sorrow of it and the brilliance of Steven Spielberg.
you know ,tom hanks ace that one dude i think he's supposed on coke cause thoughout the movie he sure does sniffle and rub his nose alot.ckeck it out and let me know what you think
you know ,tom hanks ace that one dude i think he's supposed on coke cause thoughout the movie he sure does sniffle and rub his nose alot.ckeck it out and let me know what you think
I disagree with your reviews of Saving Private Ryan! I felt that it was one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. I give this movie ***** stars and think Tom Hanks played his part well. Although we all have different opinions of movies I strongly feel this was a well directed movie.
JUST WHAT POINT ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE WHEN YOU SAY THIS MOVIE IS NOTHING TO SAVE? ENLIGHTEN ME IN HOW YOU BELIEVE THE FILM SHOULD MAKE ONE FEEL. AFTERALL, I AM ONLY AN 18 YEAR OLD WHO HAS ONLY WITNESSED THE DEVASTATION IN FILMS AND THROUGH VERTERAN'S WHO I HAVE SPOKE TO. WHAT D-DAY FELT LIKE WILL NEVER BE EXPERIENCED BY YOU AND ME. THOSE WHO EXPERIENCED IT WILL NOT BE HERE IN 20 YEARS AND IT'S OUR OBLIGATION TO MAKE GENERATIONS AHEAD OF US REMEMBER, SO IT DOESN'T REPEAT ITSELF. HOWEVER, WHEN ONE SAYS THAT IT'S NOT WORTH RISKING THE LIVES OF A GROUP OF MEN FOR THE CHANCE TO BRING A YOUNG, BEREAVED BROTHER HOME TO HIS MOTHER, YOU CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL THAT THIS DEVASTATION WILL OCCUR AGAIN. SPIELBERG IS NOT TRYING TO DEPICT ALL OF WHAT HAPPENED ON THE BEACHES OF NORMANDY, BUT A PART OF HISTORY THAT TOOK THREE LIVES AWAY FROM AN INNOCENT MOTHER. WHAT THOSE 8 MEN PORTRAYED WAS THE CHANCE TO BRING DECENCY OUT OF A WAR THAT WAS SO MEANINGLESS. WHEN STATED THAT THE FILM LEFT YOU NO EMOTIONS BECAUSE SPIELBERG DID NOT LET YOU IN ON THE LIVES OF THE TROOPS IS SOMETHING I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. WHAT DOES A MAN HAVE TO BE TO HAVE OTHERS LOOK AT HIS SUFFERINGS AND FEEL THE PAIN HE MUST HAVE FELT WHEN HE REALIZED HE WOULD NEVER BE RETURNING HOME? THE MEN WHO BLED THE GROUND RED DURING WW2 ARE NOT NOT HEROES BECAUSE OF THE RANK THEY CARRIED ON THEIR HATS, BUT BECAUSE OF THE LIVES THEY LOST IN ORDER TO PROVIDE YOU AND ME WITH THE FREEDOM WE HAVE TODAY. HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU THINK RYAN LOOKED BACK ON THE WORDS CAPTAIN MILLER GAVE HIM AT THE END OF THE FILM? RYAN EARNED IT AND THAT IS THE POINT SPIELBERG HAS MADE.
Saving Private Ryan is not about the horror of war. War after all is not only about horror, but also about valor, cowardice, sacrifice, and selfishness. War embraces all human emotion and brings out all human glory and shame. Any damn fool knows war is hell and doesn't need a movie to prove the point. Just start a war and see how many who have never endured that trauma try to get out of it by any means necessary. Humans generally are endowed with a healthy sense of self preservation. What Saving Private Ryan "is" about is great sacrifice and whether those who benifit from that sacrifice are in the end worthy of such based on the legacy they in turn leave with those who will follow them. Private Ryan himself represents all of us who live on beyond the sacrifice that was the great crusade against the Demonic Third Reich. The soldiers rescuing Ryan represent those who fought and died to provide us all with this precious gift of deliverance from wickedness. As the Hanks character says to Ryan at the end... "This... Earn it..." we see the essence of this message. The theme is (if one looks carefully) woven into the fabric of the story. I thought it was a great message and a great movie. I'm sorry others didn't enjoy it as well.
One must separate the message from the messenger. While no one can deny the bravery and suffering of all these men in this conflict, this movie is not the war itself. To critize this movie is not to denigrate the memories or sacrifices of all those involved. That said, I too was disappointed by what I perceived as a big money Hollywood formula product oversold to profit on the very sancitity and values these all these people suffered for. I rewound and watched may key scenes of the film over and over this past weekend entranced by the graphic violence and detail. A few days later I realized that I had walked away with nothing from my experiences save for a healthy respect for the random senselessness of war as the graphic realism was the only memorable insight from 3hrs of superficial character development, a thin predictable plot, and a superhero comic book like ending battle scene that seemed more suitable for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Speilberg had two trumphs in this movie. The very powerful nature of the story itself as well as the immense resources to produce a top quality film. Instead of using these two assest to construct a classic film - the overused them to create a special effect horrorama that is the only memorable aspect. No doubt, for these two qualities, this film will leave a mark if only for it's introductory 25mins but after that what specific characters or content of the film will be memorable in 5 to 10 years hence? I don't know if this is a sign of a director who has lost his edge or the monied business interests in Hollywood following a formula for profit at the cost of movie excellence of which he is a huge vested player. Movies are a tremendous business and Spielberg represents the pinnicle of that mercantile tradition of formula. In some sense I can suffer the vacous abandon of his special effect features such as Jurrasic Park or Raiders of the Lost Arc more than movies like Saving Pvt Ryan, Amistad, and Schlinder's List. In the former he is merely limiting his silly improbable stories to the patently imaginary. In the later he is hyjacking tragic history, real people, and painful memories by inaccurately condensing them into simplistic cracker jack candy - a spoon-fed treat for the masses that retreats from depth least they alienate some paying demographic. I recall Spielberg confessing that with Schlinder's List he at least wanted to break this profit cycle once by at least one film of significance and integrity. He succeeded only partially in that film so it is understanble why he fell even further short in this one. Jon
Ok. I understand what you are saying about Saving Private Ryan, about how the plot stinks and all. And I totally understand. To tell you the truth, the plot and story line is as much work as a two year old can put in. And I also acknowledge the fact that in the movie, when the soldiers died there was no feeling. BUT, at Normandy, it was like that way. A while ago a crew interviewed a vertain. During the interview he asks: "When you land on Normandy and your all your friends get shot except for you. What is your first reaction?" And the vertain said: "You would be jumping with joy because it was not you." I beleived that the scene in Normandy was brillant. But yes I do agree that there was that missing feeling of remorce when a soldier dies. I personaly think that the movie Saving Private Ryan is one of the best war movies ever because of two things : number one, it was an amazingly directed film. The sound effects, as well as camera angles brought the experice to life. And two, because of that it shows what is there to be feared and how easily you can die in war. But I beleive that there are two genres in war movies. There is the movie that shows how terrible war is, and the emotion and how it can tear you apart. And there is the one that shows how war can litterally tear you appart and why you should fear it. Saving Private Ryan was more of that kind of genre. Please write back.