johnlink ranks SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)

This movie has been in the back of my mind since seeing the coverage of the 65th Anniversary of D-Day on CNN. I had not seen SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in at least five years, but there were still several moments from that opening battle sequence which were embedded in my psyche. I suppose that is one of the greatest complements you can give a film, saying that it is still fresh in your mind years later.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is the story of a group of GIs (lead by Tom Hanks) looking through war-torn Europe for a single missing soldier (Matt Damon).

I watched SAVIG PRIVATE RYAN (1998) on 7.8.09. It was my third viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

In my opinion, this is the definitively shot war movie of our generation. I’ve heard that men who participated in the actual beach storming have trouble watching the opening sequence because of how well Spielberg was able to capture the feeling of being there. This film contains at least five or six gut-wrenching moments, and they don’t always happen to major characters. Thematically, the concepts of sacrifice, brotherhood, and the futility of war are seamlessly woven into a tight story. SCORE: 10

MOVIE

There are less individual sequences in this movie then there are in most movies which stretch to nearly three hours. None of the moments are rushed, or forced. Instead we get to go for a ride with these characters in a way which is so compelling that the length of the film never gets in the way of the enjoyment of it. I’ve always thought of this as one of the shortest three movie hours I’ve ever seen. SCORE: 9

ACTING

I take Tom Hanks for granted sometimes. I think of him as a great actor, but roles in pedestrian fare such as THE DA VINCI CODE in recent years hasn’t stretched him like he was stretched in the 90s. The subtle perfection of the monologue he gives when he finally reveals his occupation in home town to his band of brothers is the kind of performance that makes him one of the best actors of his generation.

There are plenty of cameos to go around. Some more effective than others. There are also many actors playing small roles before they were big. These include Paul Giamatti, Nathan Fillion, Giovani Ribisi, and Vin Diesel. The casting in this movie was great in that it knew where a known face would work well, and where an unknown face would suffice. But in picking a lot of those unknown faces, the casting agents did an amazing job of picking actors who had their own flavor and charisma. SCORE: 9

WRITING

Much of the appeal of this film, for me anyway, is in the way the characters feel like they are the center of the story, and the the plot just happens to be what happens to them. Scenes which would get cut out of many of today’s studio films for being beside the point, raiding the foxhole for example, need to be there for these characters’ full arcs. Can you imagine what Fox Studios would have done to this script? The opening beach sequence would be too long. The soldiers would have much bigger guns (which would not have been invented yet, but who cares) and would kill everything they saw. Major characters would only die in dramatic slow motion sequences. Private Ryan would save everyone in the end.

But more on point, the script for this movie, written by Robert Rodat, is witty, emotional, and pointed. Everything that happens happens for a bigger purpose. A wonderful script. SCORE: 9

BONUS

Enough cannot be said about the intensity of the battle sequences. This goes beyond just a good cinematographer, or a good sound editor, or good actors and extras. Everyone works together to bring an amazing experience to their audience. SCORE: 1

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 10; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 9; WRITING: 9; BONUS: 1

10+9+9+9+1=38

FINAL SCORE: 9.5

~ by johnlink00 on July 8, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: