Saving Private Ryan

The Top 63 Marathon, part 18

Title: Saving Private Ryan
Year: 1998
Length: 169 minutes
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Robert Rodat
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Matt Damon
Music: John Williams (and non-original music)
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing; Oscar Nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Score (dramatic), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Makeup; currently #46 on the IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: following D-Day, a group of soldiers searches France for one guy to send home
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Bad. Characters in a war movie that are walking metaphors? No thanks.
Story: Great.
Characters: Good. They’re mostly just cliches, but are salvaged through good performances.
Dialog: Indifferent.
Pacing: Indifferent. The opening battle scene is great. Three hours later, during the closing battle scene, it took a pretty strong effort to keep paying attention.
Cinematography: Good. Tries a little too hard.
Special effects/design: Great.
Acting: Great.
Music: Good. I assume it’s not entirely Williams’ fault, but the sappiness of the score is a bit overwhelming at times. Bonus points for Edith Piaf.
Subjective Rating: 5/10 (Indifferent). If just a few key scenes had been trimmed or pulled back a bit, I might have really enjoyed it. Spielberg’s apparent inability to use subtlety in making his points means that the movie pushes dangerously into propaganda territory.
Objective Rating: 2.8/4 (Good).


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