Letters from Iwo Jima
c- - spikeprint
At this stage in his career Clint Eastwood is approaching legendary status. At 76 he is still directing and after an illustrious career both in front off and behind the screen he has won 90 awards with a further 47 nominations including four Oscars. Which is why the bar is set so high for one of his projects, and why we expect so much? Iwo Jima is an island belonging to Japan that is desolate and bare, but is sacred Japanese soil. The Americans want it, the Japanese want it, meaning the two are going to knock heads in a bid control this pile of volcanic rock. The Japanese are low in everything, guns, men, support, food and water, meaning that theirs is an uphill struggle. The Americans are numerous, with heavy artillery and mass numbers of guns and men, meaning that victory is inevitable. The sister project to Flags of our Fathers, Iwo Jima is completely filmed in Japanese native tongue. It is from the perspective of the defender rather than the attacker, and basically from the enemies' point of view. This is a bolder move and I have heard people arguing that Flags of our Fathers was only made for audiences that would otherwise criticised the humanising of the Japanese enemy. Although this is probably not true credit has to be given for taking this stand point in a movie. The problem with Iwo Jima is that although Eastwood successfully coveys the horrors and frustrations the Japanese endured, it fails to show fully the extent of the horrors of the battle. It centres on a few central characters meaning that overall we are limited in the mass scale of the operation. Apart from a few shots of the massiveness of the American onslaught little is shown of the Japanese resistance. Trying to gauge the length of time and amount men is harder, and hampers the films impact. Of the two films Iwo Jima is the better, but for an Eastwood movie is below par. The flashbacks and interweaving story lines are not explored enough, and more depth to character would have created a more intriguing movie. The direction is superb, but with Eastwood's last films the story has been central to success. Here, ultimately, it's the story that lets him down.
Review published on the 11 July 2007 13:20
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