“When soldiers are killed in ''Saving Private Ryan,'' their comrades carefully preserve any messages they left behind. Removed from the corpses of the newly dead, sometimes copied over to hide bloodstains, these writings surely describe some of the fury of combat, the essence of spontaneous courage, the craving for solace, the bizarre routines of wartime existence, the deep loneliness of life on the brink. Steven Spielberg's soberly magnificent new war film, the second such pinnacle in a career of magical versatility, has been made in the same spirit of urgent communication. It is the ultimate devastating letter home.
Since the end of World War II and the virtual death of the western, the combat film has disintegrated into a showcase for swagger, cynicism, obscenely overblown viol” read more