Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

Tonight I saw Flags of Our Fathers starring Ryan Phillipe and Adam Beach.

The story tells of the soldiers who did (and didn't) raise the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima—the scene captured in the iconic 1945 photo taken by Joe Rosenthal.

Everything about America is in this movie: blood, pride, racism, mercy, politics, compassion, deception and redemption. I would expect nothing less from Director Clint Eastwood.

I liked all of the performances—Phillipe, Beach, and even the still-creepy-from-Heavenly Creatures Melanie Lynskey who has a small, but memorable role.

The only weaknesses were the pace (slow) and the fight scenes (especially gruesome, when less really could've been more). The characters were well-developed and Iceland made a fine stand-in for the real war-torn soil (the actual present-day Iwo Jima is shown in the credits).

But I'll have to admit, I only teared up at the very end and was able to compose myself rather quickly. It wasn't the sobbing-followed-by-headache pain of Schindler's List or the sobbing-followed-by-vomiting pain of Full Metal Jacket or the sobbing-followed-by-days-of-more-sobbing heartache of Glory.

Maybe I'm just immune to the genre.

Regardless, I'm intrigued by the project Clint is completing now, which actor Barry Pepper told us about during a Q&A following the film. It's a companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers told from the Japanese perspective. It's called Letters from Iwo Jima and is currently in post-production.

Perhaps the theaters will market this cleverly and show the two stories back-to-back.

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