We’re going to keep this fairly short and to the point, at least as far as the plot is concerned. The basis of Saving Private Ryan is simple; during World War II, three brothers have been killed in action. The Chief of Staff, General Marshall (Harve Presnell) is informed that the mother of the three deceased soldier would be receiving the army telegraph informing of her of each death, on the same day. Once it’s established that there is a forth Ryan brother, the Chief of Staff orders a mission to find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) and bring him home. The mission is assigned to Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and his unit. Saving Private Ryan sends the unit of eight men through very dangerous areas.
Everyone knows that Steven Spielberg has directed some classic movies, JAWS and Schindler’s List probably topping the list, at least in my opinion. That is however, until you watch Saving Private Ryan, and then you know that you’ve seen the very best Spielberg movie, bar none. The acting isn’t too shabby either, as the almost always perfect Tom Hanks shines in his role as Captain John Miller. Other’s, such as Edward Burns (Pvt. Richard Reiben) and Tom Sizemore (Sergeant Mike Horvath) also give strong performances. Jeremy Davies, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, and Vin Diesel all do great in their roles. In short, it’s a top notch movie from directing to acting, and everything in between.
Saving Private Ryan is however very violent, and a lot of time, probably close to 100 minutes, are spent on “battle scenes”. Very graphic, very realistic war violence, so if you can’t stomach stuff of that nature, you’re better off not watching this movie. Everyone who can stomach through it, you owe it to yourself to watch this movie at least once, though your best bet would be to add this baby to your DVD collection.
Fans of war movies will appreciate the detail and realism put into the war scenes and the violence. Fans of drama should appreciate the story told during the war, as well as the performances given within. And yes, there are a few humorous moments during the film to lighten the mood sporadically. How this movie didn’t win the 1998 Oscar for “Best Picture”, I’ll never know, the same can be said for Tom Hank’s not winning “Best Male in a Leading Role”. However it did win five Oscars, and now it takes its place alongside Tom Hanks in the TVE Cinema Hall of Fame.
Saving Private Ryan gets a five out of five: EXCELLENT.
2 thoughts on “Saving Private Ryan Review”
I think this is my favorite Hanks role. It’s subtle and I appreciate subtle, however Oscar voters don’t. The scene with the dying solider asking for his mother breaks my heart. That alone truly captures the horror that is war. Band of Brothers is a great companion piece!
Private Ryan is one of those rare movies in which everything just worked. Great script. Great cinematography. The only thing I don’t like about that movie is that it’s success led to the production of like five war movies a year up until like two years ago. It burned me out on the genre in a hurry, to the point that I didn’t see Black Hawk Down until a few years ago. That said, it’s still a great, great movie. Private Ryan (and also Boiler Room) shows that Vin Diesel can be fantastic as long as his screen time is kept fairly short. “Find Me Guilty” is the exception that proves the rule.