Sunday, June 19, 2011

Flags of Our Fathers

In the aftermath of war, lives are changed. Returning soldiers are withdrawn, unable to live the lives they had before the war. Families struggle to cope with loved ones being killed in battle. To others, however, they fail to see the impact the war left.

Flags of Our Fathers is somewhat different. The three main soldiers were part of the famous flag rising photograph and are hailed as national heroes. However, they want to be treated like returning soldiers. Fame is nice, but it has a price.

One notable scene is when the soldiers storm the beaches of Iwo Jima. It almost mirrors the D-Day scene of Saving Private Ryan, chaos and carnage all around. It doesn't have the exact impact of the D-Day scene, but it's pretty darn close.

Flags of Our Fathers is one of Eastwood's best movies, though not an absolute best like Mystic River or Unforgiven. It shows the reluctant nature a person can have when being lauded for something they did. But it does have its flaws. Still, it's very good.

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. This movie had such critical success I can't even remember why I didn't see it. I see 90% of films released each year and who doesn't love an Eastwood project? Thanks for reminding me this gem.

  2. Great review - I need to re-watch this one.

  3. I admit I hate this movie. I think Eastwood has become a coddled filmmaker in his old age, but even I was surprised at the gap in quality between this and Letters from Iwo Jima: that film is one of his masterpieces, this is one of his worst. I love the theme of the movie, how appropriating the patriotic and heroic acts of our or any country's bravest members robs the actions and those people of that heroism, but Eastwood approached it all wrong. Paul Haggis' script is a disgrace even by his standards, shoehorning in messages over humanity, while Eastwood's direction is inconsistent. There's a grim irony in a film that's all about how the humans get lost in the shuffle of a message offered so little humanity to its characters.

    By the same token, I have to return to it because so much is tied into Letters: the themes of each are enhanced by the other, but boy do I much prefer sticking with the acutely human Letters to the empty platitudes of this.


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