Saving Private Ryan

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Steven Spielberg

REVIEWED: 08-03-98

Don't let the earnest, tony previews fool you: This is a terrifying and brutally violent movie. Most horror movies don't have a fraction of the gore, and anyone who takes children needs to have his head examined. Naturally, since this is Steven Spielberg in Oscar mode, it's gore with a higher purpose: to render the you-are-there reality of World War II, a historical turning point that most of us do indeed take for granted. That it does. The plot follows the reluctant efforts of a captain (Tom Hanks, doing a respectable job although I still have a hard time taking him seriously) and his small crew (played by a who's-who list of indy-film actors) to find a young soldier for P.R. purposes. It's an unlikely premise, but it allows for a tour through several common locations and situations during the 1944 campaign to liberate France. The opening scene, which depicts the troublesome Omaha Beach landing during the invasion of Normandy, is a stunner: sharp editing, swift hand-held shots, and gruesome attention to detail make it one of the most arresting war scenes ever filmed. Over and over, Spielberg dumps the shock and fear of death in your lap. The movie's furious "war is hell" action lets up for occasional character development and ambiguous incidents, which only make the returns to mayhem that much rougher. Saving Private Ryan's primary fault is that it's so much more jarring than it is moving; the film comes considerably closer to experience than to dramatic art. For some, this imbalance will probably be too much. If you have no desire to understand how it might actually feel to be in combat, you're advised to skip it.

--Woodruff

Full Length Reviews
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan

Capsule Reviews
Saving Private Ryan

Other Films by Steven Spielberg
Amistad
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Columbo (tv)
The Lost World

Film Vault Suggested Links
Panther
Rob Roy
The Man in the Iron Mask

Related Merchandise
Search for related videos at Reel.com
Search for more by Steven Spielberg at Reel.com
Search for related books at Amazon.com
Search for related music at Amazon.com

Rate this Film
If you don't want to vote on a film yet, and would like to know how others voted, leave the rating selection as "Vote Here" and then click the Cast Vote button.