Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Reviewed on 2011 January 15
Long, brutal WWII movie from Stephen Spielberg, inspired by the real-life story of the Niland Brothers. Read their story after you watch the movie.
When three brothers in one family are killed in the war, the army decides to deploy a team to get the last surviving brother out of battle and send him home. Captain John H Miller (Tom Hanks) and seven men from the 2nd Ranger Battalion are sent to find Private James Ryan. Miller observes it’s like finding “a needle in a stack of needles”, and brave as they are, many of his men question the wisdom of the mission.
The opening Omaha Beach segment is horrifying, but Spielberg stuck with it, even if would get him an NC-17. It’s a powerful, harrowing movie and at times hard to watch. It’s also very very good. Hanks was perfect as Miller, and the rest of the 2nd Rangers each had a sharp, memorable personality that it was painful to lose any of them. My favorites were Adam Goldberg as the tough, foul-mouthed Stanley Mellish and Giovanni Ribisi as the introspective Medic Irwin Wade.
Four chocolate morsels.