Saving Private Ryan

The mission is a man
The mission is a man
D: Steven Spielberg
Paramount/Amblin (Steven Spielberg, Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon & Gary Levinsohn)
US 1998
169 mins


W: Robert Rodat
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: John Williams
PD: Tom Sanders

Tom Hanks (Capt. John Miller), Edward Burns (Pvt. Reiben), Tom Sizemore (Sgt. Horvath), Jeremy Davies (Cpl. Upham), Adam Goldberg (Pvt. Mellish), Giovanni Ribisi (T-4 Medic Wade), Vin Diesel (Pvt. Caparzo), Matt Damon (Pvt. James Ryan)

Steven Spielberg's seminal war movie is made in it's opening act, featuring a recreation of the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, so realistically and viscerally presented that you'd be forgiven for thinking that real-life footage was spliced into the celluloid.
Following it's breathtaking gambit, the story follows a small platoon sent on a special mission to rescue a soldier, the only known survivor of four brothers, trapped somewhere behind enemy lines.
Though the opening battle is a sight to behold, the rest of the film settles for a routine platoon-in-peril plot, before rewarding us with another fantastic battle in the ruins of a small French town. 
Had the film fallen into the hands of another director, the film could have been a disaster, but with Spielberg at the helm, World War II comes to life before our very eyes. There's a few criticisms which prevent it from a flawless review. The first being that the exposition scenes explaining the reasons for the mission are sentimentally unconvincing, taking the viewer right out of the horrors of war. The second, and most crucial reason is due to the mawkish bookends to the film, featuring an elderly veteran breaking down at a military cemetery, which wasn't given any dramatic weight, even with John Williams' patriotic score.

Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan