Film: Flags of our Fathers

Wednesday night I caught Flags of our Fathers which is Clint Eastwood's film about the story behind the taking of the famous photograph of American soldiers placing a flag on Iwo Jima, and how it became a crucial photo in helping the war effort back home. The battle of Iwo Jima is less important here than the story three of the soldiers in the photo who survived the battle and went back to the US to help the war bond effort.

It has the basis for an interesting movie on the power of perception and a single image. Unfortunately like the film Saving Private Ryan it had some pretty awful narrative, including throwing in the son of one of the men two thirds through the movie as someone trying to "piece together the story" for a book. Cue interviews with old and limbless men with grave faces and Paul wondering who the hell these people were. Still at over two hours it moves pretty quickly and is still an interesting enough film. Given the small audience I suspect it won't be around for very long however...

What was most interesting about this film is its very bloody link it has with Eastwood's next film (which is getting released in the UK in February) Letters from Iwo Jima which tells the Japanese side of the story. Flags of Our Fathers in its portrayal less of the war and of its symbolism to the American people feels a bit like an empty film with some very irritating narrative. Letters from Iwo Jima is being hailed as a masterpiece and one of the best war movies ever... Guess we will have to wait and see about that...

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