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In 1945, the Marines attack twelve thousand Japaneses protecting the twenty square kilometers of the sacred Iwo Jima island in a very violent battle. When they reach the Mount Suribachi and six soldiers raise their flag on the top, the picture becomes a symbol in a post Great Depression America. The government brings the three survivors to America to raise funds for war, bringing hope to desolate people, and making the three men heroes of the war. However, the traumatized trio has difficulty dealing with the image built by their superiors, sharing the heroism with their mates. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In two and a half hours Clint Eastwood paints a thought provoking piece on heroism and war-propaganda. The film tells three stories: first it is the WW II battle of Iwo Jima where thousands of soldiers (Japanese and American) died 'conquering' that island. In the style of Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg is a producer of Flags) the viewer gets a astounding look at war with a lot of blood, guts and CGI. Second is the story of a son of one of the flag raisers on that island, who interviews other survivors of that battle to understand his dad a little better. This is very moving stuff, but stands a little pale in comparison to the final storyline. This is where veteran-director Eastwood really shines. Like his meditation on violence Unforgiven, Flags takes a closer look at heroism where soldiers by chance get into the spotlight of the war-propaganda-machine. Some may say that Eastwood made an anti-war film or even an anti-America film, but they're wrong. Flags is very critical on the way war is sold to the public. There's nothing honorable about killing or to be killed on the battlefield. The only thing that matters is that you protect you're friends in your platoon and that they protect you. Flags is one of the best war movies I ever saw, maybe even better than Ryan, because it's never sentimental and always honest in its portrayal of the soldiers and war in general.
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