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A superlative film and blu ray, but not consistent down to the end.
on 17 September 2015
I'm not one of those who think this film is great because it remarks the sacrifice for freedom etc..., nor I'm one of those who criticized it because of that.
I think that this film might have been even better without some patriotic rhetoric and if it kept the bitter mood and approach of the first half, also in the second half.
But still this film is, after 15 years, a masterpiece: it is the first to show battle scenes with a realistic and groundbreaking technique which taught and inspired all the action and war films since then. And it is the first great film (along with The Thin Red line, which is even better) in years to talk about war without focusing on VIetnam and other recent wars. And by doing it, the film manages to refresh the old style war movies (with true passion, action, friendship and honor) with a new sensibility made of violence and bitterness. So all the first half is striking because it really throws you into the battle, makes you suffer and heavily breathe, feel in peril and then relieved, but always keeps you on the edge. And while the story goes on, you enter a surreal world, made of ruins and solitude, where even the leader is not that solid and confident about what is going on. A mix of shocking scenes, of realism and some poetic and intimate moments (Tom Hanks look during the battle, his sudden cry, soldier missing their parents and the words they didn't said to them) which represent all the best part of Spielberg, and some surprising sides who were unknown to most people (but he was already a disenchanted and critical director in the seventies, and not just a reassuring master of happy-endings). In the second half you lose that and all that's left is mostly violence and a fantastic filming style. So the film is still superlative, and the blu ray is probsbly one of the best ever released, but at the end, although you can't hold your tears despite the retoric, because you've been led to it passing through a dramatic and emotional path, you get the feeling that, was it a little more unbiased (the capture of the german soldier seems to add and even more human and compassionate touch to the story, until it gets an unfair and incorrect twist), it would have be even more shocking, effective, impressive and mature. But Spielberg, despite his huge talent and humanity, is still a reckless kid who love playing with Hollywood, and needs to be loved by everyone: and this is what puts him in the elysium of great directors (able to speak to everyone and still not be merely mainstream), but it is not enough to promote him among those who really tried to say something different and even unpopular (except for Munich, which is what Private Ryan could have been to war, and it was not)