James M's movie review of Saving Private Ryan (1998)


War, a fascinating and important subject, but also a dark and terrible time. War never changes, war takes lives, but can be entertaining in movies.

There have been many wars throughout history, but World War II is the darkest time period in the history of our planet, occurring nearly twenty one years after the end of World War I and started by the most ruthless dictatorship in world history. This is where we gather to discuss a movie set during that era, a movie that depicted the reality of war in terrifying detail.

This is Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks as Captain Miller and Matt Damon as Private Ryan himself, this movie unfolds in June of 1944 as Allied Forces land in France, moving inland and fighting hard against Nazi forces. 

Kicking off in the present day with the older Ryan and his family in a graveyard, the story truly begins when it shifts to 1944 on D-Day, the Normandy Landings. The scene in the boat with the soldiers leading up to the big battle is so eerie and chilling, it actually gave me shivers, making me feel like I was there among many of those soldiers who were destined to die on D-Day.

Saving Private Ryan is no ordinary war movie as it is brutal and is R-rated, blood is spilled and the D-Day sequence is filled with the brutality of war with many gruesome death scenes, even though you still see the traditional dropping dead bloodlessly after getting shot seen many times in previous war movies or action movies in general. While it is a war movie, there are moments of peace and quiet. 

However, during those moments of peace and quiet, while the soldiers are talking or moving through a tranquil countryside, you may never know when the enemy will attack at any time. That is perhaps one of the best parts about a war movie, which nails it about real life war, is when you may never know when the enemy will strike at any time. The writers knew what they were doing, even the musical score was well put together with some very good music heard throughout the movie.

Tom Hanks steals the show in the movie, especially as Captain Miller, showing that he is one of the best actors in Hollywood and still is to this day. And seeing him with Matt Damon was quite incredible, especially since Mr. Damon's also one of the greatest actors ever next to Tom Cruise, Chris Evans and countless other great people from many different movies and shows. 

Father and I talked about seeing this movie for a good couple of years, but never got the chance to do so as life got in the way or we were busy watching other films, when we finally did, the experience wasn't so bad. While the action scenes were well-shot, the moments of peace and quiet along with the build-ups to the battles were both decently thought out. You can't have constant action scenes, after all.

Overall, Saving Private Ryan is a fun, fantastic and one of the best war films ever. If you're a fan of Tom Hanks, war movies and action films, I'll happily suggest you watch it. But just a heads up, Saving Private Ryan is no doubt very violent but its probably nothing you can't handle. I managed to handle the gory scenes, especially since, realistic as the gore was, it was fake. This film gets a 10.5.

See you later, America.


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