PLOT A group of eight solders, led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) must fight their way across occupied France to save the life of one young man by the name of Ryan.
Steven Speilberg makes two types of film; the emotional epic, and the hard to watch gritty, scary film. What makes Saving Private Ryan unique is that it has bits of both. Films like E.T and Indiana Jones tell incredible stories that are big and epic but Spielberg can also make a film that can be hard to watch ether because of its intensity or because it is scary. Saving Private Ryan can be either, depending on how the viewer watches it.
When I think of war films I tend to think of a 1970s something film that is watched at 12 to 3 on a weekend afternoon – often just on in the background. Saving Private Ryan can be this but I think that it comes alive when you sit down and watch it with your undivided attention.
This film is famed for its first 30 mins, they are hard to watch and very, very intense. When it was first made no other film had shown the D-day landings as unglamorously as this. Jansuz Kanminsli’s cinematography (which he won an Oscar for) is what makes the first 30mins, and the whole film, so gritty. At points the camera is following the characters, at some points it even gets a bit of blood on it. Spielberg sets the tone for the film by seemingly introducing us to characters in the first few minutes and then brutally murdering them. For an audience used to miraculous and incredible escapes from Speilberg’s characters this is a shocking opening.
Rober Rodat’s screenplay is bought to life by a host of brilliant performances. The cast includes names like Matt Damon, Vin Diesel and many more. But the character of Captain Miller (the everyday man who has been forced into a war) is played superbly by Tom Hanks (who was nominated for an Oscar for this role). Tom Hanks is able to make the character of Captain Miller both commanding and confident but also unsure and confused.
VERDICT Saving Privet Ryan is a masterpiece. It tells a unique story in a very unique way. After watching it you never know if you enjoyed it and I think that as long as it makes you think then this film has achieved what it set out to do.