Saving Private Ryan (1998)

(In theaters, September 1998) One of the most realistic war movie you’re likely to see. Granted, I’ve never even been near a dangerous situation, but Steven Spielberg really puts viewers in the middle of the action in this WW2 epic. Bullets whiz by; tanks rumble under your feet; handheld camera shots gives you what the soldiers saw. Technically, the movie is excellent, although I’ll quibble that there were many unnecessary jerky camera shots. Beyond that, however, Saving Private Ryan tries to be honest, painting neither a gung-ho pro-war or a rabid anti-war portrait. War is hell, but not without a certain meaning. We are free to see the movie and make up our own conclusions. Saving Private Ryan is neither as good, as shocking or as violent that its growing reputation makes it to be, but it’s certainly that rarity; a film that deserves to exist if only to make history come alive. It’s not a crowd-pleaser that will warm hearts all over the country, but much like Schindler’s List, enjoyment is pretty much irrelevant. One of the best movies of 1998.

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