***½/**** Image A+ Sound A- Extras B
starring Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore
screenplay by Robert Rodat
directed by Steven Spielberg
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. One is tempted to speculate that, perhaps even more than his father's tour of duty, something that inspired the teenaged Steven Spielberg to shoot a succession of WWII docudramas on 8mm (since he had authentic props--Dad's medals--at his disposal), lingering guilt over his dismissal from the U.S. Army after a military shrink deemed him unfit for the battlefield accounts for Spielberg's frequent digressions into the war genre. As reductive, nay, Freudian as this may seem, for one thing, it has the potential to dilute the vitriol commonly reserved for the bookends of Saving Private Ryan by bringing them into autobiographical relief. Certainly ignoring the picture's prologue and epilogue altogether doesn't help: I once programmed my DVD player to do just that and the result felt surprisingly incomplete, as the context for a WWII narrative with a conspicuously anecdotal quality had all of a sudden disappeared.