Day 25- A movie that no one would expect you to love
Anyone who knows me well knows that my taste in pop culture (movies in particular) is all over the map. I don’t think I could name any movie I like and have them be genuinely surprised. So I’ll write about a movie someone who doesn’t know me- or only knows me through this blog- would be surprised that I love: Saving Private Ryan, the ultimate war movie.
I think it will surprise my readers (the two outside of dear Mom) to find that I love war movies- the bloodier, the better. I know I usually write about teen flicks starring beautiful twenty year olds playing fifteen. But I swear my interests go beyond shallow but fun movies. This includes war films: Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Braveheart, The Patriot, Tigerland, and my favorite, Saving Private Ryan.
The opening sequence on Omaha Beach is crazy. It’s just pure mayhem. Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) has to lead his soldiers through gunfire, explosions, troops landing in the wrong location, failing communication systems. The chaos make it feel more realistic (or so I imagine having never been in battle). It’s loud, there’s blood everywhere, and everyone seems to be in a state of confusion. In short, it’s the best opening scene to ever be filmed.
Tom Hanks is perfect as Captain Miller, the mild mannered school teacher turned soldier. He has such presence despite, or perhaps because of, being a relatively quiet man. My favorite scene is when he finally spills his life story to his remaining men as a way of stopping Private Reiben (Ed Burns) from deserting. Up until this point he has remained a mystery to them. He counted on revealing himself as a means of bringing his men back together, and it worked. I can’t imagine anyone but Hanks making such a small gesture mean so much.
The supporting characters and the actors who play them are all amazing in their own right. I cried when Doc (Giovanni Ribisi) told the story about trying to stay up late to say good night to his mother but pretending to be asleep when she would come home early from work to tuck him in. He plays the level of emotion in the scene just right- not too overwrought or sappy. I also cried when Carpazo (Vin Diesel) dies trying to save a young girl who reminds him of his niece. And I cried again when Private Ryan (Matt Damon) refused to leave behind his “brothers” at the bridge. I cried during the whole damn thing. It’s just that good.
This film is a great example of how to keep the audience captivated while providing history and emotional moments. At no moment during viewing did I feel that I was sitting in on a history lesson. The mixture of explosions, touching moments between the men, and dramatic monologues is sheer perfection. Given that, it should really be no surprise that anyone loves this movie.