The realism in this film is incredible. At times it is almost too real. The opening scenes of the Americans storming Omaha Beach will make even the most hardened of movie goers stop eating their popcorn and watch in silence with mouth agape. Director Steven Spielberg (E.T., Schindler’s List) has made the best kind of tribute to the men who went over there to fight during World War II because he really shows the hell that war is. The sacrifices that they made are even more shining and impressive after you’ve seen this film.
On June 6, 1944 the American troops at Omaha Beach are slaughtered by the German forces as they are trying to land, but despite the overwhelming odds against them they were able to triumph. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks – You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle) leads a small troop of men behind enemy lines with the mission of saving Private Ryan (Matt Dillon – All the Pretty Horses, The Informant). The mission is a total public relations move by the American military.
After the storming of the beach one of the dead American soldiers has a backpack with the name “Ryan” stitched on to it. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall (Harve Presnell – Evan Almighty, Flags of Our Fathers) discovers that the Ryan family has lost three sons in the same week. He assigns Captain Miller the task of bringing their last remaining son, Private James Ryan, back to the United States alive.
Captain Miller chooses translator Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies – from television’s Lost), Sergeant Horvath (Tom Sizemore – The Flyboys, Black Hawk Down), Private Mellish (Adam Goldberg – Zodiac, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi – Avatar, Public Enemies), Private Reiben (Edward Burns – She’s the One, 27 Dresses), Private Carpazo (Vin Diesel – The Fast and the Furious, The Pacifier), and sharp shooter Private Jackson (Barry Pepper – We Were Soldiers, The Green Mile) to make up his team. Despite the fact that the Nazis are still everywhere this small troop heads out in search of one American soldier.
Everything about the film from story, acting, cinematography, special effects, and sound, go a long way towards making this one of the heavier and more realistic war films ever made. The fact that it has been upgraded to blu-ray really gives the film a shiny new look.
Some might advise you to close your eyes during the 24 minute opening sequence, but that would be a mistake. Yes, it is harrowing. There is no denying that. However, it’s portrayal of death, fear, and courage is second to none. There is plenty of violence, but you never get to the point where you think it is gratuitous. It is just there to show what the soldiers had to deal with and go through. I don’t think there is a person out there who could watch this film and not be affected by it. “Saving Private Ryan” falls into that category of film that will stay with you for a long while after you’ve seen it.
-Saving Private Ryan