Saving Private Ryan (1998) Movie Review

image courtesy: DreamWorks Studios

Three brothers died in action against the Nazis on WWII. As ordered straight from the top, it is Captain Miller's duty to form a squad to rescue the youngest brother, find him all over Normandy, deliver him home and stop breaking another heart of a mother from receiving yet another telegram concluding all sons' deaths. Everyone gets to do his part in war. But is it worthy to risk the lives of his men for the sake of one?

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Review:

Some of the reasons why I love watching war films... 1) of course, ACTION; 2) male machismo/alphaness; 3) probability of finding hot guys! And I did find a really hot guy albeit barely there, he didn't have much time exposure. But I like how the director of this film had to emphasize his face, especially his smoldering clear blue eyes with the sexy lashes. The problem is, I don't even know his name. He's one of the enemies, a badass talented German sniper at that. So please help me identify this guy with his brief moment:


Update! The sniper's name is Leos Stransky.

The movie starts off packed with action. And I tell you, too much action. The mix of soldiers had to go behind enemy lines from the shore of Omaha Beach in France. Captain Miller along with his band of soldiers under his command had to rally up to the defenses of the Nazis. Most companies didn't make it and so did his men. And finally it was over, the beach was secured. But he has to take yet another mission. This time though, saving one soldier by the name of James Ryan to send him home to his mother for all the three brothers had died in action (the Chief of Staff doesn't want to send telegrams to a mother declaring all sons are dead). He formed a squadron of 8 that which included a cherryboy-in-arms from outside of his company, Corporal Upham, a map-maker who is to serve as his translator in French and German since two of his died.


While most of the time, the scenes are heart-wrenching, what with so many soldiers risking their lives for what it's worth, I had to say I find this movie very hilarious the entire time. There are just so many funny scenes! When at the beginning I was frowning, feeling and stomaching the gruesomeness of the blood-soaked beach, flying limbs, open guts, and screaming men, just a quarter through the film I find myself having a plastered smile on my face. All the amusing things just keep coming! (I have to say, the first 24 minutes of the film is the finest war sequence I've ever seen in a film) I really enjoyed everything about it a lot. Just when the scene is getting all sad, this perky map-maker and translator Corporal Upham who had his first hand in combat under Captain Miller had to come up with his quirky moments. Moreover, Private Mellish (aka Fish) and Private Caparzo (played by Vin Diesel!) have their own private joke of endearment, like gesturing kisses to each other.

Captain Miller: Upham!
Upham: Yes, sir.
Captain Miller: You stay with Sergeant Horvath.
Sergeant Horvath (to Upham): Stay right here.
Sergeant Horvath (to Capt. Miller): I'll wear him like underwear, Captain!

They had this pool of a game, a joke among the company of soldiers that whoever will make the Captain divulge his story before becoming a soldier will win a prize. And everyone had their bucks in the pool that has now risen up to $300 since the Captain keeps his past to himself. (Just think how huge that money was during the WWII) When Upham queried about the soldiers' background just to know them better (since it's his first combat, he's kinda sentimental), they had to bombard him with lies about the captain.

Upham: Reiben, so you don't even know where he went to school?
Mellish: Captain didn't go to school. They assembled him at OCS out of spare body parts of dead GIs.
Carpazo: You gotta pay attention to details. I know exactly where he's from and exactly what he did 'cause I pay attention to detail.
Jackson: Hey, Upham, careful you don't step in the bullshit.

While the entire time I find the thought amusing, I never thought it will become a mediator to the group later. That was when they were facing another heartache.

Near the end of the film, I was so agitated with Upham. He's so weak and he frets like a scared little hamster that he wasn't even able to deliver the ammunition to his comrades until they died. But something surprised me at the end. And somehow I understood why he is the way he is. (Spoiler: Just think about some probable reason why he has become a translator in the first place.)

Watching this film, I was reeling with excitement, curiosity, agitation, amusement and sadness. It's one of the finest war films I have ever watched, if not the best. Of course, there's nothing you could say less with any of Steven Spielberg's creations. I really salute whoever is/are the scriptwriter/s of this film. They really did their job so well. They make things sound funny while keeping them serious at the same time.

Acronyms I learned from this movie:
FUBAR - Fucked Up Beyond All Repair (I didn't wait by looking through the net, fortunately I have Wordweb installed in my gadget)
KIA - (now, it's your job to look this one up)

Quote to go by:
War educates the senses, calls into action the will, perfects the physical constitution, brings men into such swift and close collision in critical moments that man measures man. -Emerson

P.S.
I shouldn't have read anything about this film on the net. Somewhere in the film, the filmmakers tried to make a surprise that didn't get me since I already knew. And so the joke didn't go through me but I still find it funny. :) Don't worry, I tried not to write spoilers as much as I could. Nonetheless, it would be better if you have no idea who the actor for Private Ryan is.

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