Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

                  It’s a war film which is not my genre of choice.  I’m not a fan of realistic warlike plots or scenes in a movie.  I can understand why Steven Spielberg may have chosen to direct this one.  It’s possible he did to put out to a mainstream audience the horrifying reality of war.  I know war is an awful act of humanity and it’s embarrassing to say the least.  Why embarrassing you may wonder?  War inhibits mankind from prospering more than we should.  The time spent devising different ways to murder one another is fruitless.  The causes for it are often even more absurd.  To end life over religion, race, land and money to name a few is barbaric.  Shouldn’t we as fellow humans keep trying to break barriers to advance ourselves together?  Hatred and untrustworthy minds would never allow that though which will lead to me concluding my thoughts on war.  I don’t have all the answers but killing a fellow man is not one.

                Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is our leader of men to save Private James Ryan (Matt Damon, not a fan) who doesn’t even want to be saved after found.  The landing on the beach of Normandy is the introduction and it’s so real it’s sickening.  The gore is a turn off for me.  I know that’s what makes it realistic though.  The Captain pushes onward and in a safety zone gets his assignment of rescuing Ryan.  His own team thinks it’s ridiculous to do this but the Captain holds to his words that if it gets him home to his wife than that’s all that matters.  He has a valid point at least but I still feel it’s a poor plot idea.  In a realistic attempt at war why come up with a very unrealistic concept? 
   
                A problem occurs again in the reality fixture of the film when Miller’s team comes across an enemy hillside with a heavy gun atop.  The team would have suffered a defeat while charging that hill on the way to where Ryan was.  The scene was set up for it too but failed to follow through, instead opting to show an unreal way of success by the team.  The team was spread out without suitable cover from the heavy gun; they would have been ripped apart.  To only lose but the medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi) was not with the realism the film is trying to create.  I also want to add they killed off one of the best actors in the movie, Giovanni, sorry man.  Remembering it’s war and as they win the hill they let one German soldier go free.  Why?  You killed everyone else, why is this man any different?  Is he cute?  Does he remind you of your brother?  He later fights against them and kills the captain in the end.  In war, such as WWII, I don’t believe such an act would occur to let him go free while blindfolded.  His men were becoming hostile and it was far more realistic for one of them to blow the guy to the next life.  What could the captain do about it?  Nothing, they were on their own. 

                I was disinterested at times of certain character development, one of which was the scene toward the end as they prepared to protect that bridge.  Private Ryan talking about the last night he was with his brothers was dull and boring, he didn’t even show emotion.  The casting was well overall which did help greatly as I watched.  If a weaker cast was involved I may have closed my eyelids at times.  The interpreter (Jeremy Davies) on the team drove me crazy as the movie progressed all the way to the end.  His coward behavior should have killed him on several occasions.  His “friendship” or whatever you would like to call it with the released German soldier was another example of unrealistic behavior.  The German soldier’s apparent sympathy for the kind and gentle interpreter was odd.  The whole team spared his life, the German’s, at the hillside so why would he only elect to not kill the interpreter?  Wouldn’t his debt spread to all of the men?  They all had a chance to finish him off but didn’t.  You see how it doesn’t make sense when you think on it?

                I applaud, regardless, that the film was attempted.  Aside the hill scene, risking so many just to save one man, along with the length of the film, it’s still an alright movie.  I also didn’t always follow what was happening on a battlefield.  It felt like so much going on that it became slightly confusing.  Despite some criticism it still holds up well when you look at it on the whole.  I think the movie could have benefited if it weren’t so long.  The scenes tended to have a monotonous feel to them.  I couldn’t stand all that dreary background.  I know I know its war right?  That’s probably the most realistic aspect of the entire movie.


                Rating: 7 of 10


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