Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saving Private Ryan

I said on my review of The Thin Red Line that there's debate on which World War II movie from 1998 is better: The Thin Red Line or Saving Private Ryan. And after seeing both, I now know. I'll tell you later on.

Shortly after the invasion of Normandy, Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) is ordered to find Pvt. James Ryan (Matt Damon) to inform him of his brothers' deaths. The task is daunting and, to some, life-threatening.

The most famous scene of Saving Private Ryan is the 27-minute long D-Day scene. We see war in a new light from this scene. We witness soldiers perish on the beach. We watch as they fight their way onto dry land. It's a scene that will forever haunt those who see it.

The work from Hanks is excellent, almost a departure from his earlier work. Steven Spielberg, who already left one hell of an impact on me with Schindler's List, deepened that impact with Saving Private Ryan. Damon, although he doesn't show up until the final third, was also really good. The scene where he is told of his brothers' deaths really impressed me. He takes the news with such stride.

So which is better: The Thin Red Line or Saving Private Ryan? Saving Private Ryan overemphasizes on violence (evident from the D-Day scene); The Thin Red Line emphasizes more on the characters. I had to turn away from several scenes of Saving Private Ryan (weak stomach, you know?); I was fully absorbed by The Thin Red Line. Both are well-acted, both depicted the horrors of war, both are just brilliant movies. So which is better? I apologize to some, but I believe that The Thin Red Line is the better of the two.

My Rating: *****


  1. I see your point and I agree that I liked The Red Blue Line better, but it's hard to decide it something is really better because it's easier to watch.

  2. lol I wrote the red blue line - I think I am making my own movie. Anyway, you know what I mean!!

  3. Ahhh...the debate of 98 returns.

    I for one could not possibly choose between the two, since they are such different takes on the same war. While RYAN would make my all-time top three movies, RED LINE is a stunning philosophical examination of war and its relationship to the very battlefields it is fought on.

    I think that it was unfortunate that the two films were released within six months of each other, since it now means they will forever be linked...when in reality they couldn't be more different.

    Lovely post!

  4. Good review Anna. I think this is like comparing apples and oranges. Saving Private Ryan is a mainstream blockbuster while The Thin Red Line is really much more artsy and high brow. I definitely love both movies equally!

  5. Two great films that are difficult to seperate in terms of quality.


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