During the first 25 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan", director Steven Spielberg puts you right in the eye of the hurricane that was Omaha Beach on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Spielberg, the most successful moviemaker in film history, has taken the subject of WWII and made it more raw and real than any other movie before it. The only movie I've seen that could even come close would be Wolfgang Petersen's terrifyingly authentic "Das Boot", about a German U-Boat crew. Spielberg's ability to take you into this world and make you feel every part of it, to convince you that it's really happening, and happening to you, is nothing short of breathtaking. Almost every battle moment is shot from low on the ground, as a soldier would have seen it. Much of it is shot with a surreal type of fast-motion photography, magnifying the effect of events moving too quickly for you to react.
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Undoubtedly one of the most violent movies I've ever watched,this picture graphically shows the horrific effect that weapons of war can have on the human body, but it could be plausibly said that if Dwight Eisenhower had not chosen the Army as a career, we might now be saying "Heil Hitler," when we answer the telephone instead of the traditional "hello". This is the real moral of the movie, something that makes the somewhat hackneyed script and stock characters almost irrelevant. I think it's vital for this generation to see exactly what these men had to endure and sacrifice to secure our liberty a half-century ago. World War II was the most important military conflict to be fought since the American Revolution, and probably the most meaningful war to be fought during this millennium. In a confrontation that would determine the fate of the planet, it seems fitting -- if unfortunate -- that the men on the front lines were the kind of men in "Saving Private Ryan" -- ordinary men who formed a human barrier to protect us from an Austrian art student and his drive to rid the world of an entire race. They were Citizen Soldiers who saved the world, but their sacrifice goes deeper than even that; they did, in fact, save History itself. They were Americans.
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