Oscar – A name, a word by pronunciation itself brings pride to the english film industry.
What if the director of the movie won this twice, the hero twice again and these top minds come together to make a movie that, no one knew, but anticipated, won five academy awards, to prove its worth. To make a war movie in itself is a challenge. How do you introduce drama, human touch, deep emotions in such a scenario, where things are burning everywhere around?
Imagine an Edith Piaf’s song of lost love in a place where soot falls like rain and a theme with loving moms, caring brothers and memories of childhood, all around one central character like the sun with the planets just revolving round and round and round.
If such an epic movie can be made, it can be made only once and the movie always has a special place in everyone’s hearts and minds, a place saved for “Saving Private Ryan”
I think everyone who’s ever heard of this movie can make up the names of the director, Steven Spielberg and the lead actor, the sun, Tom Hanks! After all these years of watching movies, this is one such movie which stays fresh in my mind, primarily due to the direction, cinematography and the performances.
The movie is primarily about a group of soldiers moving in into Nazi occupied France to save a person, a soldier, one living among many on the war zone. Interesting reason is why.
James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), a soldier, is the fourth brother of a family and the other three brothers have died in the same war. FUBAR. John Miller’s (Tom Hanks) team with a small group of soldiers – all accomplished actors today – embark on a journey to find him and get him home to his mom. This order to save, retrieve is made by a then general, George C Marshall of the United States Marine corps. He makes this decision due to an earlier incident, in which five of the same family die in the same war and this scene is shown with a letter written by Abraham Lincoln himself to a Mrs.Bixby.
“Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.”
This is one of the favorite quotes of many to come in the movie. My hands wouldn’t just clip this long quote. So that’s that.
If I were to talk of casting, I thought everybody was perfect for their roles, except one. I, for one, am one of the many many people who thought, Tom Hanks is just wrong for this role. Why him in a war movie, why not Arnold? But I admit, I was wrong and Steven Spielberg was right there. Perfect casting; His leadership quality is amazing and the mystery of his profession at home is really thought provoking. When you know who Miller really is, you understand the reason for Tom Hanks being there, in this movie.
Cinematography in this movie really deserves an Oscar (and of course, won). The camera man is the one who has really been a part of the heart of the war. He was the one under water, near exploding bombs, bullets, tanks, you name it. The movie seems real when we watch. Only in the aftermath do we realize where we really are. Just Authentic and spectacular!
This would be Steven Spielberg’s best picture may be after Schindler’s list, though this is a different venture altogether but on similar lines. Hail Steven!
If you think US has won the war, you see how much it costs in this movie. The movie focuses on showing good and bad in people’s minds rather than wandering into the usual question of, “Are all Nazi’s bad?” The truth is when you are face to face with the enemy with a loaded gun, we would do what we would do. Fight for survival. No greatness there.
This movie portrays strong feelings, the ones that flash to you when you are an inch to death. This movie shows who really are and makes us question ourselves, what would I do? This movie lulls you into a little bit of soul-searching but my search seems to be indefinite. No answer even today (sigh). I would suggest, go see the movie if you haven’t already. Let me know if you can find an answer. I sincerely doubt it though. But it’s worth a try…