Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Letters From Iwo Jima

Tonight I saw Letters From Iwo Jima, starring Ken Wantanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya.

This story of the Imperial Japanese fighting the Americans in the Battle of Iwo Jima is a sincere attempt to convey the horrors of war on both sides of the fence. However, it should've been an hour shorter.

The acting performances are superb and the battle scenes are an appropriately dizzy, harrowing ride, but the sentiment for me fell short—despite the fact the movie is well over two hours long. After witnessing the atrocities committed by both teams of soldiers, I was just anxious for the film to end because I didn't feel especially compassionate for either side.

Some would say that because the movie is based on a real battle and we know how it truly ended, that some of the suspense will inevitably be lost no matter how good the film is. I might have agreed with this had I not seen United 93, but now that I know it can be done, I no longer see that as a valid excuse.

This movie is nominated for the Best Picture Oscar® because of its beloved director Clint Eastwood, not because of its worth.

Eastwood's companion piece to this film, Flags of Our Fathers, better kept my attention—not just because I'm an American, but because it was a stronger story. What may have brought me into Iwo Jima more is if Clint had shown some familiar faces from his first movie and really tied things together. How compelling would it have been to see one of our beloved soldiers die from the opposite perspective?

More compelling than the result of this film, which left me bored and tired.

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