Saving Private Ryan is a story about a team of army men who are sent to bring back a Private called James Francis Ryan from the warfront. The head of the US Military Services comes to know about the death of 3 brothers all from the same mother. He then gets to know about a 4th brother who’s still in the warfront. He orders for a team of 8 to be sent to bring back the boy of which Tom Hanks is the captain.
The story is set during World War II, the invasion of Normandy Beach. The movie starts with the invasion of the beach. 25 minutes of complete war scenes which shake you up a bit. The most striking scenes being the one where a man is shown searching for his blown up hand, while another one is shown going into flames when his missile launcher blows up. And a third when at the end of it they show the bodies of men all almost masking the beach.
The movie then proceeds into the mission of Saving Private Ryan. The scene where the military general reads out the letter written by Abraham Lincoln to the mother who lost 5 of her sons in the American Civil War. The letter itself gives you goose-pimples when you think about the mother and about what the President must’ve gone through while writing the letter and what a great man he was to understand the emotions of the mother and still lay rooted to the ground. (I just hope someday Bush, Clinton, Obama and the likes realize that they had such a president sitting on the very chair they sat on)
The mission is on and the team starts to move with the obvious confusion on why to put the lives of 8 people at stake for the sake of one person. Tom Hanks’ dialogues at every point that the doubts are raised for the mission to move forward are full of intensity and contain amazing inspiration.
They continue moving forward until they encounter the machine gun bunker where Tom Hanks takes the decision to go up and face the bunker because while their mission was to find and save Private Ryan, they also were part of the mission to win the war.
They lose the Medic in this combat and we see Tom Hanks cry in the next few scenes while making sure that none of his team members witnessed it. A character so strong and inspirational, and a scene so intense that it is inevitable to ignore or overlook it. Tom Hanks decides to let go off the guy they capture saying “he’s a prisoner of war, its not our duty to carry him through” , to which one of his team members replies, “what if he goes and joins some contingent of his and fights against one of our companies?? This is against the rules, we cant let him go”. Tom Hanks orders the team to move ahead.
The last few minutes where they plan a stand against the Germans using whatever they have with them is amazing. Some amazing military stratigies and tactics are discplayed which will leave a military fan like me in awe of the men and the presence of mind and the courage that these men exude. The last scene where we see the same german who was let off by Tom Hanks come and shoot him is heart-breaking. Then Tom Hanks dialogue of “Go Live it off. You’ve earned this life!!! “ leaves you heavy with emotions. And makes you think of how valueable each and every army personnel’s sacrifice is to this country and still how we don’t care to bother reading about it discarding it as just another newspaper article about an insurgence.
We like to sit back and talk instead of how poorly the border is guarded and how they the insurgents should be shot dead. If only it was so easy a task, it would’ve been done long ago. And none of us want to send our children to the military because we don’t want to lose him. We instead want him to go to United States of America and earn an MS and join one of the American companies and increase their revenue.
We’re most happy to go and see the Niagara falls if given visa but Taj Mahal sounds boring to us all. That’s why Americans have been winning for ages now. They know just how to market and glorify their sacrifices and victories. Every Indian knows about 9/11. hardly does any American know about 26/11.
The day we start respecting our heros and glorifying their sacrifices and recognizing the achievements of our heros we’ll start moving closer to America.