Monday, June 04, 2007

Flags of Our Fathers

Sometimes after we’ve watched a particularly boring film, Livia’s been known to say, “That movie would’ve been better if some stuff had blown up.” Well, before we watched FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, Clint Eastwood’s movie about the battle of Iwo Jima, I made the comment that stuff would probably blow up in it. Boy, does it. Lots of stuff blows up real good.

As well-done as the battle scenes are, though, this movie is more than that. It’s also the story of how there were actually two flag-raisings by the Marines atop Mount Surabachi, not one, and it was actually the second one that was the subject of the famous photograph. The movie follows the story of the young Marines involved, too, including the ones who were sent back to the States to take part in a bond drive while the war was still going on. Eastwood has the story jumping around in time quite a bit, which can be confusing if you don’t watch closely, but all the various storylines are effective. Ryan Phillippe, who has never impressed me as an actor, is pretty good as “Doc” Bradley, the medical corpsman who was the father of James Bradley, author of the book upon which the film is based. Adam Beach plays Ira Hayes, the Pima Indian whose life seems cursed by the “heroism” he gets credit for, and is also quite good. There’s no real star, though. The cast is very much an ensemble and is populated with some fine character actors.

I don’t think FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS rises to the level of a classic war movie, but it’s pretty darned good, with some really poignant images, especially toward the end.


Anonymous said...

'I don’t think FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS rises to the level of a classic war movie'

Give it time. :-)

James Reasoner said...

You're right, such things do require some time before we really know.

Mark Terry said...

It sort of fell into the "thought-provoking and memorable" category. It was terribly sad, I thought, further punctuated by all the recent press releases about how the military has made heroes out of Tillman and Jessica Lynch, et al.

Anonymous said...

I went to see this film with my dad, a WWII veteran. I got free passes from my office.

The film was terribly disappointing, especially since I had read the book, which was fantastic, first. The ending of the film was changed completely from the book, and I couldn't stand the way the film jumped from Iwo Jima to the States (or other locales) and then back again. Made it hard to follow.

And my Dad, the WWII vet, absolutely despised the film.

Jim Griffin

Anonymous said...

Gee 'james j griffin' are you and your father in the minority! The overwhelming majority of Iwo Jima vets absolutely loved Flags of Our Fathers. When the film came out I remember reading dozens of reports from various papers about veteran reactions and they were all uniformly positive. Still, diff'rent strokes & all that.

Anonymous said...

The other point you've missed is that whatever differences there are from the book the film is emotionally truthful to Bradley's story - and that is the most important thing of all.