peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2011 07 31 SavingPrivateRyan

Saving Private Ryan

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With one half of Hollywood off fighting in Guadalcanal, crowd pleaser Spielberg took the remaining men to the beaches of Omaha on D-Day, 1944, delegating operational command to Captain Tom Hanks and his band of teary-eyed cannon fodder. The opening action is incredibly well-shot, perhaps the best unreal war footage I've seen, which makes the dialogue in the less breathless scenes so much more painful. (I remember being completely overwhelmed by that opening scene when I saw this at a cinema back in 1998.) The incredible scale of these scenes and the rhythm of life in the army (at least as I imagine it, tedium interlaced with adrenaline rushes) are somewhat ruined by the impression that these boys barely know each other, let alone themselves.

Matt Damon is actually pretty decent here, maybe because he has a bit part. Tom Hanks always strikes me as hokey, in a way that American audiences seem to love. Wave that flag, shut up and love your country already (or leave). #43 in IMDB's top-250.