The Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

Reid, 2. February 2007, 22:07

Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Dir. Clint Eastwood
132 minutes

Originally, I didn’t have any desire to see this film. I’m just not interested in WWII films, maybe even war films in general. What can a new film cover that hasn’t been covered before–the horrors of war, senselessness, chaos, etc.
What changed my mind was watching the clips to Letters from Iwo Jima. Not only did the trailer look compelling, but the idea of having one film showing the American perspective and other depicting the Japanese perspective on the same battle intrigued me.

So I went. The film started off pretty well–setting up the characters–who appealed to me–and the battle. The battle scenes weren’t shot very well. Then again, after you’ve seen the beach landing in Saving Private Ryan what else can be done? The film takes a different direction and while there are some interesting elements of the story, I didn’t feel the film really explored this enough to make the film worthwile.

My verdict is you’re not missing much if you don’t see this film. It’s OK, but not great.

The idea that the three main characters–the soliders who raised the flag–were reluctant heroes and just did these promotional tours to help the government raise money was sort of interesting. Perhaps if Eastwood explored this a little more, the film could have been better. I’m not exactly sure where he could have gone though.

There’s also narration in the beginnig of the film about how this one shot symbolized and eventually help achieve victory. The person speaking says that this pictures can win or lose or war citing the famous Iwo Jima flag raising in WWII and the Vietnamese solider shooting someone in the head in the Vietnam War, which signified the impossibility of victory for the US. I thought this was an interesting idea, but the film doesn’t go beyond that. Perhaps, a documentary would have been more interesting. In that way the film reminds me of Clooney’s Goodnight and Goodluck. The narrative and characters aren’t strong enough, although the facts and details are compelling.

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