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War of the Worlds (2005)
Worthy title in Spielberg's resume
OK so the kid-sassy Spielberg bits are tiresome. But it's really completely secondary to the richly detailed, salute-to-attention 21st century vision of what an alien invasion might look like. The relentless onslaught of alien attacks captures the barrage of ordnance in Private Ryan and matches it with the other-worldly terror that was the promise of Close Encounters before Spielberg wimped out. Yes, the film is influenced by the post-9/11 American psyche but it also fuses the breakdown of humanity from the Jewsih Holocaust Spielberg captured in Schindler's List. Some of the most poignant, fantastically simple scenes are the shot of dead bodies floating down the river and the speeding flaming train. These are visions that stay with you, haunt you, become etched in film history as master visions. The sheer desperation here is always palpable and riveting. Not without flaws but a definitely a great film.