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-Flags of Our Fathers (R)

by Dr. D ~

Warner Bros., oct. 2006, directed by Clint Eastwood.  Starring: Ryan Phillipe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach.

The film is far different than the trailers would seem to indicate.  It is really two separate stories. First there is the story of the battle for Iwo Jima, one of the greatest sieges in American military history.  Over 7,000 Americans died and 19,000 Japanese in a brutal month long campaign to take the Japanese Island.  Then there is the story of three American soldiers who were sent back to mainland as ‘war heroes’ to help promote war bonds.

The movie would have been far more powerful if it stayed with one of the two stories for longer periods rather than flashing back and forth in short confusing sessions.  Many of the characters that were seen over and over again were never fully developed.  The war scenes were more than shocking yet had little effect since many were more like a bad dream than reality.

Only the three ‘heroes’ were given more than one dimension.  The characterization of Ira Hayes (Adam Beach), a native American, was clearly the most interesting.  He seemed to be haunted by the war and his bogus status as a supposed hero.  The three ‘heroes’ never considered themselves as such, because the famous flag-raising that they participated in was far from being the glorious heroic event that the picture seemed to indicate, and that the folks back home were led to believe.


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