Saving Private Ryan

4 out of 10


Gutsy Yankees Win War With Evil Nazis We Couldn`t

This gruesome film shows a small group of US soldiers on a mission to rescue a US Army Private. The obvious questions are, "What`s the point?", and "Why the Second War?" If this little band of GI`s were trying to save hostages from Saddam`s Republican Guard there might be some relevance, but the Second World War`s been over for more than 50 years. It was a different world, where homosexuality was a "crime" and a "disease", a woman`s place was at the sink and Nylon stockings were "state-of-the-art" technology - it almost gives the impression that Hollywood has to keep going back to the War, because it was the last time the US did anything honest and decent.

I fully agree that it is easily the most graphic portrayal of warfare that I have ever seen with fine acting, great direction and stunning special effects of people being blow to bits, but what`s the purpose? The endless sight of having blood and brains splattered all over the camera lens deadens the fine pathos without which this could never be an "All Quiet on the Western Front" or a "Das Boot". Stand back a little and it takes very little thought to realise that the mechanics of fragmenting human beings has zip relevance to the story. Furthermore, I was amazed at the ease with which the US soldiers are shown taking Omaha beach in Normandy in little more than a few minutes when in the reality, a handful of gutsy Germans managed to hold off almost the entire US Army for the best part of an entire day and almost pushed them back into the sea, despite continuous naval bombardment. And with the cavalier way the heroic GI`s are shown enjoying executing, unarmed surrendering Germans begging for mercy, and "Old Glory" filling the entire screen as the final shot of the film, one really has to question whether it`s not an indictment of War, but of Hollywood`s warped view of history and its basic moral tenet of "Good People Kill Krouts".

Although the whole film is a dog`s dinner of unrelated violent scenes put in to give Spielberg`s backroom boys the chance to do some really clever special effects stuff with computers, the ending looks so misfiting and phoney, you can almost see the duct tape holding it onto the rest of the story. In what has become the hallmark of a DreamWorks film, they clearly had no idea how to finish the film, so they stuck to the corny "cavalry saves the wagon train from the Indians" ending.

One wonders, what does DreamWorks hope to achieve with this portrayal of trigger-pumping morons "doing the right thing" (i.e. usually butchering joke Germans) in the midst of War, other than pillaging of our wallets, raping our senses and looting the trophy cupboard for a few more Oscars for Spielberg & Hanks?

Over-hyped, pointless Video Nasty, keep well away

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett