Internationally acclaimed, but fundamentally flawed, Saving Private Ryan is an interesting attempt to revive the war genre. Unlike Mallick's Thin Red Line which arrived soon after, Spielberg avoid serious examinations of moral themes, focusing instead on gung-ho heroics as a small group of American soldiers is sent deep into enemy territory during World War II to find and bring home one Private Ryan, whose two brothers have both been killed in the conflict.
The opening sequence of the D-Day landings remains one of the finest things the director has ever put on the big screen, and does a superb job of capturing the intensity and horror of the conflict. Predictably, the rag-tag group of soldiers bicker about the futility of their mission, discover more about themselves and each other, and struggle to survive in the hostile territory.
The cast, particularly the wonderful Tom Sizemore, bring to life a rather turgid script, but the present-day memorial scenes book-ending the film are unwelcome and the enemy soldiers are unrealistically anonymous.
Still, this works as a fairly simple adventure movie and a superb piece of entertainment.
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