Saving Private Ryan

"You want to leave? You want to go off and fight the war? All right. All right. I won't stop you. I'll even put in the paperwork. I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel."   - Captain Miller

release year: 1998
genre: war drama
viewing setting: home Bluray, 2/11/18 and theater 8/26/98

synopsis: Three brothers are killed in action in World War 2, and the Army doesn't want the fourth to die, so they send a team to go into Europe and find him and bring him back.

impressions: This was a very powerful movie, and it was very well-made. Right from the get-go, it plunges the audience into bloody, gory, bleak conflict. Blood and gore galore. And then comes the super-risky mission to go deep into the war zone and risk the bring back one young soldier. The movie is well-paced, with quiet-time sandwiched between combat scenes; both are very effective. Lesson learned here: war is hell, and you can die in an instant, with no warning and no chance to avoid it. And if you're deep into it, you can only wonder what the point of it really is.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A first half-hour of tremendous bloodshed as dozens of soldiers are cut down while storming Omaha Beach.

acting: Tom Hanks is the leader of the team, who seems like he has it together but turns out to be a regular guy, and just barely hanging on. Tom Sizemore is his faithful second-in-command. Barry Pepper is a skilled sniper. Matt Damon is the guy they're trying to find. A young Bryan Cranston is an officer at the War Department. A young Nathan Fillion is a soldier. A young Jeremy Davies is another soldier, who is brought along as a translator. Vin Diesel has an early appearance as another soldier. Ted Danson appears briefly as a pathfinder.

final word: Masterful war movie that shows the effect of war on the soldiers, and doesn't spare the viewer from the violence and death either.

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