“Saving Private Ryan”
When you think of a typical war movie, what do you expect to see? Lots of blood, gore, loose storylines and a typical Hollywood ending? Unfortunately those themes abound in the archetypal movies of the genre. Only when a director can move beyond those motifs do we experience a touching, deep and intense movie that develops worthwhile characters. With “Saving Private Ryan”, Spielberg excels at doing just that. Another theme that is prominent in war movies (especially American victories) is the unbridled Patriotism that is exuded from the screen. While I don’t think it is wrong to be shown, it can be over the top. This movie is guilty as charged.
One thing surprising about "Saving Private Ryan" is how conventional it is. I fully expected a much more "noir" vision of WWII along the lines of Oliver Stone's "Platoon." Instead I saw a well thought out movie which doesn’t focus on the blood and gore of war, although it does have its share, but rather the horror and traumatic experience that warfare is. The opening scene is D-Day on the beaches of Normandy. Thousands upon thousands of American troops storming the beaches while German machine guns massacre hundreds a minute. Sure, there are scenes of
extreme bloodshed, but they are done tastefully and without being shoved in your face. At one point, Captain Miller (played by Tom Hanks), who is supposed to be the leader on the field of battle seems dazed by his surroundings. He looks around, sees thousands of men missing limbs, bleeding, dying right before his eyes and he almost seems awestruck. But it truly shows his human side. He is not just a warmongering leader, he has feeling. You legitimately get the sense that he cares.
A war movie ultimately relies on the same dramatic tensions as slasher or science-fiction movies. The audience is at the edge of its seat waiting for the next sniper's bullet to tear through the flesh of one of the "good guys."...