Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam
Beach, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, Barry Pepper and John Benjamin
RunTime: 2 hrs 12 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: NC-16 (War Violence)
Day: 30 November 2006
OUR REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL JAMES BRADLEY'S NOVEL
OUR REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
From Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood
(Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven) comes the World War II drama
Flags of Our Fathers, produced by Eastwood and Academy Award
winner Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s
1945. Even as victory in Europe was finally within reach,
the war in the Pacific raged on. One of the most crucial and
bloodiest battles of the war was the struggle for the island
of Iwo Jima, which culminated with what would become one of
the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy
corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.
inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory
to a nation that had grown weary of war and made instant heroes
of the six American soldiers at the base of the flag, some
of whom would die soon after, never knowing that they had
been immortalized. But the surviving flag raisers had no interest
in being held up as symbols and did not consider themselves
heroes; they wanted only to stay on the front with their brothers
in arms who were fighting and dying without fanfare or glory.
of Our Fathers is based on the bestselling book by James Bradley
with Ron Powers, which chronicled the battle of Iwo Jima and
the fates of the flag raisers and some of their brothers in
Easy Company. Bradley’s father, John “Doc”
Bradley, was one of the soldiers pictured raising the flag,
although James never knew the full extent of his father’s
experiences until after the elder Bradley’s death in
are some things which we have to remember for the rest our
lives. As much as we want to forget, circumstances just do
not allow us to. It does not help that these memories are
not happy ones, and you’d have to live with them till
a ripe old age.
still is the fact that sometimes, these haunting recollections
have to hide behind a hero’s celebrated image.
film explores this bleak theme, focusing on the tormented
lives of three surviving men who raised the American flag
during World War II on the tiny island of Iwo Jima. These
soldiers were made heroes upon their return to America, gracing
countless publicity events to stir hope for their country.
But these three men soon realize that there are personal demons
to counter amidst all the splendor, fame and attention they
heroes of the war are either dead, or out there fighting battles.
They are merely undeserving symbols.
respected history academic would tell you, the photograph
of the six men raising the glorious American flag would go
on to win a Pulitzer Prize, and become an inspiration to Americans.
But what most people do not know is the desolate stories behind
from a book written by James Bradley and Ron Powers, this
Clint Eastwood-directed feature paints a depressing yet thought-provoking
picture about the notion of heroism. You empathize with the
protagonists while watching the film, because you feel their
helplessness. This strikes upon their individual realizations
that they are not all worthy of the titles of being war heroes.
create that mood, the film clouds you with drab and bland
shades of cinematography throughout its runtime of 132 minutes.
This may be a test of patience and tolerance for some viewers
who are more used to bright and cheery colors in their movies.
aspect of the movie that may put the mainstream audience off
is its unhurried pacing. The plot takes its time to develop,
switching between flashbacks and present, and is definitely
not your typical war movie with lots of action sequences.
Not that this movie is without its gritty moments, because
the war scenes do feature some of the goriest and bloodiest
dead bodies we have seen in a war flick.
humble opinion, this is probably Eastwood’s intention
to construct an unappealing style in this movie. This is evident
from his recent unentertaining but critically-acclaimed works
Mystic River (2003) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).
most of his movies, this one features a capable cast. The
vulnerable Ryan Phillippe, the proud Jesse Bradford and the
tragic Adam Beach play the three unwilling heroes with perfect
ease. Other brief but impressive performances come from Barry
Pepper, Robert Patrick and Jamie Bell, just to name a few.
you accuse this film of being pro-America, and is simply Eastwood’s
Oscar bait for next year, you may want to watch his next film
Letters from Iwo Jima, due in theaters early next year.
the perspective of the Japanese about the same war that was
fought on the island, it would be a perfect companion piece
to this movie.
this one’s mood, we predict that the movie starring
Ken Watanabe would be another showcase of how history has
its unwelcome consequences on human nature, and how it has
impacted how we live today.
gloomy but provocative movie about how we perceive heroes,
and the possible personal demons they are battling)
Review by John Li