Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Movie of the Week – Saving Private Ryan

This week’s movie is: Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Following D-Day, a group of Army Rangers lead by Captain Miller is tasked with finding one man – Private James Ryan – after three of his brothers are killed in action. They must find paratrooper Ryan, who is somewhere in Europe, and get him home safely, making their way through enemy territory.

The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, continuing his string of grand prestigious Hollywood productions in the 1990s (which include Schindler’s List and Amistad, though the latter is nowhere near the same caliber). The film also laid the ground work for the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers that Spielberg would executively produce with Tom Hanks in 2001. Spielberg worked with his frequent collaborators composer John Williams and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, while blockbuster production designer Thomas E. Sanders was new to the team.

Tom Hanks stars with Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, and Jeremy Davies co-starring in the film. There are also a ton of cameos, including: Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Farina, Max Martini, Nathan Fillion, Dale Dye (Spielberg’s military advisor), Bryan Cranston, and Kathleen Byron.

Saving Private Ryan, if nothing else, changed the way filmmakers would shoot war scenes going forward. The invasion landing at Normandy is maybe the most iconic cinematic moment of the 1990s. It is completely compelling, heartbreaking, haunting, terrifying, and heroic. But where the film truly succeeds is with its great characters and the comradely among the men in the unit. It is a must-see for fans of Spielberg and war dramas, as it is one of the best. It was nominated for eleven Oscars, winning five (including Best Director).

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video-On-Demand

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