Saving Private Ryan

Bash & I watched Saving Private Ryan this evening. I’ve wanted to see it since it came out, mainly because I’d heard that the first half hour or so was incredible. More generally, I quite like gritty WW2 stuff since I read Cryptonomicon, and I enjoyed what I saw (little) of Band of Brothers, so it seemed likely I’d enjoy this.

Well, yeah, it was all right. Not a life changer, but also not a complete waste of three hours either. The first half hour certainly didn’t disappoint, and overall I was fairly gripped, and impressed by the grittiness, jumpiness, fleshiness of it. I think it would be improved about tenfold by (a) having absolutely no music whatsoever (apart from the Edith Piaf, obviously), and (b) having no Stars ‘n’ Stripes fluttering fore and aft. But hey, shrug, it’s a product of its time and place, I guess (three years before the WTC attacks, btw). I expect it had more impact when it was fresh and the camerawork/lighting techniques were new & exciting, but still, it worked well. Tom Hanks did his Thinking Man’s Regular Joe routine as well as ever, and the supporting cast was gratifyingly full of “ooh look, I know him” faces (Ted Danson – yay). I was surprised to see Matt Damon as Ryan (I didn’t know before I watched it), which of course spawned a slight Team America moment on the couch. Always a pleasure…

(Hey, check the trivia on IMDB: interesting snippet on the Lincoln letter. It figures – historical truth is almost never as stirringly poetic as it is portrayed by propogandists, I suppose.)