Saving Private Ryan Review Essay

There have been many war films made, some successes, others are flops. But there is something about Saving Private Ryan that makes it a masterpiece. Who knows what it is – a great director, an all star cast, or even its realism? It seems to fall all together to make, in my opinion, the greatest war motion picture ever made besides Band of Brothers.

D-day would have been a tough time for many, millions of people. All the hell they would have of went through. Saving Private Ryan is based on d-day with Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) who is sent on a mission with his squad, to rescue a Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) and take him out of war, due to his three brothers being killed in combat in the one day. He also picks out soldiers who have served him through the war.

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In the first 30 minutes of the movie, we see a very graphic war scene of the beaches of Omaha, located in France. Many, many people die here, there are explosions, and A LOT of blood. From just this scene you can see why this movie got an R 18+ rating. However the scene seems so realistic, the technique is just about perfect, you could only imagine what D-day would have been like back then. Steven Spielberg solely made these scenes with help of his father, and the stories he has told him before. The end result: Masterpiece.

In addition to showing what happens when bullets fly into human flesh, the director has added many useful techniques such as using hand held cameras, even muted colours. These effects just work altogether very well.

There is nothing somewhat complicated in this movie (which runs for nearly three hours) – there are only two large, and probably the most important war scenes. Yes, you get in-between battles, but the first 30 minutes of Omaha beach, and the last 30 minutes at a small village (or what’s left of it) called Remel are the two fights that Spielberg focuses most on.

This isn’t Tom Hank’s highest role in a movie, (more like Forrest Gump) however he positions extremely well, along with, and to the supporting cast, who also happen to be some big names such as Vin Diesel (Pvt. Caparso), Adam Goldberg (Pvt. Mellish) and even Ted Danson (Capt. Hamill).

Every cast member in the movie is developed differently – there aren’t two soldiers alike in personality or even physique. Spielberg also throws in Cpl. Upham, who in sense, was like many of the soldiers going into war – afraid. He only fires the gun once throughout the whole movie. He also hardly ever participated in battles. These shows of somewhat the human conscience can do to you when you are most afraid at any time.

The movie (Omaha Beach) in particular was actually filmed in Ireland, the strip of land, and even rock towers were very uncanny of the real thing, says Spielberg. Spielberg also uses a same location filmed twice for different war scenes, done VERY well by using different camera angles. Believe it or not, both scenes look like they were done at totally different places.

The three hour film may take some time to open up at the very least; however the time is worth it. You can see what makes Spielberg a great producer/director. The amount of effort to make a realistic war movie is amazing.

To sum it all up, a very graphic war film, with a thoughtful story line, beautiful dialogue (even jokes are thrown in by the smart-mouthed soldiers), somewhat real war scenes, amazing camera jobs, and an all star cast makes this movie a success, a masterpiece. Easily my favourite war movie of all time.


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