Stars: Tom Hanks, Edward J. Burns, Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Davies, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon. Written by Robert Rodat, Frank Darabont, Scott Frank. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Rated R for graphic wartime violence, profanity.

There hasnít been a movie as profoundly moving, as unflinchingly realistic as "Saving Private Ryan" since director Steven Spielbergís own "Schindlerís List". This new World War II epic pulls no punches in showing the brutality of war and its effect on the people who participate in it. It is not for the faint-hearted and I would strongly encourage parents to leave their children at home. The nightmares induced by horror movies are nothing compared to the nightmare of war.

Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks), after narrowly surviving the Normandy invasion, is assigned to locate Private James Ryan (Mat Damon) and send him home. Private Ryanís three brothers have all been killed in action and it would place the military in an awkward position if it had to announce to their mother that all four of her sons had paid the ultimate price. Captain Miller handpicks a squad of eight men and sets out to locate the remaining Ryan boy, not knowing for sure where to find him or even if he is still alive. When some of the squad are killed during their mission, the others are compelled to ask themselves if one life is worth more than another.

It goes without saying that Spielberg should make room on his mantle for a slew of new Oscars. If I could use only one word to describe "Saving Private Ryan", that word would be "stunning". This film overwhelms the senses with its graphic depiction of the horrors of war. I often found myself flinching at what I was seeing and thinking to myself "there but for the grace of God go I". It is impossible to leave this film unaffected by its honesty. With the usual glut of feel good summer movies choking theaters, never have I been so thrilled to feel bad.

Review Menu | Front Page