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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As the title suggests, the thing that stands out most is how honest the
war is portrayed as. It is not all about in-your-face patriotism and
hatred of the enemy. Eastwood and the rest of the crew show how
propaganda kept the war going and making money for the war effort was
the biggest reason for doing anything. That is not in any way a bad
thing. In fact, it shows how America was indeed focused on ensuring
victory would be the ultimate result.
As for other elements, the music is simply beautiful. I do not think Flags of our Fathers would have had as much of an impact without it. It suits the situations and lets the viewer connect more with the characters. Any CGI used could just as easily have been the thousands of units that were present during the war.
The inevitable comparison with Saving Private Ryan does come up. But, being that Spielberg produced this one, you do feel like the two are similar. Albeit, Saving Private Ryan was more gory. For comparison's sake, Saving Private Ryan would have probably showed what the Japanese had done to Iggy. Otherwise, the two are similar in evoking emotion and telling a terrific story (though Flags of our Fathers was a true story).
Lastly, I enjoyed the high level of historical accuracy and similarities the actors possessed to the actual people they were portraying. I looked into the film and the facts therein and did not discover anything major that detracted from true events. I loved the occasional first person camera angles that made me feel even closer to the action. I loved the camera angles that corresponded to the ones from 1945.
Truly, a wonderful war film and definitely one that ranks up with Saving Private Ryan even though it did not rake in as much money. Purely due to coincidence, watched and written 02/23/2014.
(Synopsis) There were five Marines and one Navy Corpsman photographed
raising the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi by Joe Rosenthal on February 23,
1945. "Flags of Our Fathers" is the story of three of the six surviving
servicemen, John "Doc" Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Pvt. Rene Gagnon
(Jesse Bradford), and Pvt. Ira Hayes (Adam Beach), who fought in the
battle to take Iwo Jima. The picture became one of the most famous
images of the U.S. winning a battle during WWII. However, the battle
for Iwo Jima raged on for another month with three of the marines being
killed in action. The other three servicemen were taken out of battle
and flown back to the states. The photo made these men heroes, and the
government used these new heroes to promote the selling of war bonds on
the War Bond Tour. The three men did not believe they were heroes, even
though the American public did.
(My Comment) The film was based on the book written by Doc's son, James Bradley. It wasn't until his father's death that he found out that Doc was one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers. Soldiers with real combat experiences usually keep their war stories to themselves. Clint Eastwood directed the film, and he didn't pull any punches in the battle scenes, even though the battle for Iwo Jima was considered one of the bloodiest against the Japanese in the Pacific. The only problem I had with the movie was that Eastwood used too many flashbacks that jumped around and made the movie hard to follow. The movie would have been better if Eastwood had gone in chronicle order with some flashbacks. During the battle scenes, you actually see the chaos that soldiers encounter on the battlefield. Overall, I found the story to be realistic and very compelling by not glorifying war. It is a long movie, but the time passes very fast. This film will receive many Oscar nominations. Some of the movie is graphically violent and shows the dark side of war, and the effects war has on our returning soldiers. (Warner Brothers Pictures, Run time 2:12, Rated R) (8/10)
This is a different war movie from all the previous made. Often through
flashbacks we can see the horror of the war and how unnecessary is, but
this time we are "honored" to see even deeper to its complete stupidity
and lack of any logic. The lies, false symbols, forced heroes, irony...
it's all here and the fact that is true story with accurate facts makes
it even more disturbing.
However Eastwood manages to find the driving force of the soldiers, friendship. He also makes excellent cross between the emotional abuse of the soldiers in States and the brutal abuse on Iwo Jima with intelligent flashbacks.
In the end the thing that made this movie special, true story and too many facts and characters stopped the movie from culminating in the end, but... that is war without make up, ugly while it lasts, and after, in the heads of soldiers never leaving them until the rest of their lives.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When the trailers for Flags of Our Fathers came out, a lot of people
expected it to be Saving Private Ryan in the Pacific. Fortunately for
this viewer it was not, but I think that is why it did not meet
people's expectations. Instead, this adaptation of James Bradley's
outstanding book focused on a facet of war rarely explored by
Hollywood, the manufacturing of heroes by propagandists and its impact
on the unlucky soldiers who are thrown into the limelight.
The film focuses on three soldiers who were photographed raising the American flag at Iwo Jima, John Bradley, Ira Hayes, and Rene Gagnon. The photograph became a sensation at home, and the three soldiers were recalled to become the centerpiece of war bond rallies. The only problem is, they were not the first soldiers to raise a flag. Another group of men raised a smaller flag, but a high ranking general wanted to keep it as a memento, so the three main characters were told to raise an even bigger flag, and this time it was caught on camera. They try to explain that they are not the right soldiers for this propaganda campaign, but nobody will listen. They are told that people have become complacent at home, and they need to raise money so the war will end sooner. So, with guilty consciences, Bradley, Hayes, and Gagnon take all the glory that really belongs to their comrades who have either been killed or are still fighting. Disaster strikes soon, however, as Ira Hayes falls into alcoholism. None of them can stand the deception behind the campaign. It is not only based on a false premise, but on a false impression of war. They are hailed as heroes, but they certainly don't feel like heroes. War forces soldiers to do brutal and ugly things, and nobody seems to understand that at home. The soldiers know they are perpetuating a charade, and they want to go back to their buddies in the Pacific.
Flags of our Fathers tells two stories, the Battle of Iwo Jima and the propaganda campaign surrounding the battle, but it does not balance them well. The transitions between the stories are jarring and can really take you out of the film. The last act of the story is where it loses its way. The narration of the soldier's lives after the war takes up too much time, and the segment with John Bradley's son James feels out of place. Nevertheless, I applaud Clint Eastwood for choosing this story, because we would normally not associate it with World War II. It feels more appropriate for an unpopular war like Vietnam or Iraq, and that is part of Flags of Our Father's genius. We never really consider how propaganda affects the soldiers. All Quiet on the Western Front approached this subject but as part of a broader condemnation of war in general. The soldiers in this story hate the war, but more importantly, they just want people to know the truth. It is narrower in scope, but perhaps that makes it more realistic. It just goes to show you that war is war no matter how it is justified. I thought this subject matter was well timed given the recent Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch scandals. I also appreciated the depiction of the WW II veteran's difficulty adjusting to domestic life. While Ira Hayes had the most trouble by far, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley were also never quite the same. They were relieved to be home, but they were alienated. They could never really share what happened to them with anyone who did not experience it themselves.
On a more personal note, when I saw this in the theater, everybody got up to leave when it was over, and I was nearly out the door when I noticed everybody had stopped to view the credits. I went back inside and saw photographs of World War II veterans. Everybody had stopped to watch the pictures, paying their respects. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
Therefore, despite bad pacing and a weak third act, I highly recommend Flags of our Fathers. The technical aspects are top notch and the acting is admirable. You should see Flags of Our Fathers most of all for its portrayal of the impact that propaganda can have on soldiers. If you like this, you will like the book even more.
Sometimes you see a movie that opens a door into a fascinating topic,
into subject matter that is completely new and original, and that was
the case when I first saw "Flags of Our Fathers".
I'd visited the statue of the raising of the Iwo Jima flag, and I'd long been a fan of the John Wayne movie, "The Sands of Iwo Jima", but I had no idea about the controversy surrounding that famous photograph.
This movie just sucked me in and didn't lose my interest for one second. It's brilliant story telling by Eastwood. Lots of films deal with the psychological effects of battle on soldiers, but "Flags Of Our Fathers" examines this subject from a completely new angle. This also might be the best movie ever made about war-time propaganda, revealing the nuts and bolts of manufacturing heroes for public consumption.
Sobering, thoughtful, and totally engrossing, "Flag's of Our Fathers" is a revelation of a film.
I often complain how many war movies are out there. Many of them have
not manage to be kept in memory, and the ones that have, are mainly
about Vietnam. Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now and Platoon are all
set in Vietnam, so this was the first time I was going to watch a movie
set on WWII.
Flags of Our Fathers is Clint Eastwood's view of this war, and the special episode of the island of Iwo Jima, from the point of view of American Soldiers. Soldiers who had to live their lives behind in order to fight for their country.
"Heroes are the ones who died there", say the returned soldiers from the picture of the movie poster, picture which has been taken by the government in order to finance the war. This movie does not only bring us the suffering and things soldiers have to deal with when they find themselves away from home, but also that what happens when they returned, is not always the way they had imagined it to be.
Great movie, and a good recommendation if this is in your war movies you haven't yet watch. I'm looking forward in seeing 2 Letters From Iwo Jima.
This movie is great, if you are a history buff. If you are expecting a
war film like "Saving Private Ryan" look somewhere else.
This the closest you can get to the truth about the five Marines and the Navel corp-man who were part of the flag raising.
With this involved it also talks and shows about the fact that the famous Iwo Jima picture that is seen in the history books, as well as the national monument in Washington D.C., is the second flag raising. It makes a real fact about the first flag raising one and what also happens to those Marines as well.
A great known fact is that when the second flag raising happened one of the Marines one mistaken for another one and the story behind that.
With all that is involved it is not your average action hero drama happy movie. It gets dark with the true telling on how these men handled themselves afterward. From dealing with demons, to the neglecting the horrors.
But this is just my review, take it as a grain of salt.
This excellent film deals the Iwo Jima battle and the three survivors
of the notorious flag raising on mount Suribachi. This is a flag-waving
and patriotic tribute to U.S. Marines and experiences of three soldiers
after US took Iwo Jima from the Japanese. A photograph of this act
appeared in 'Life' magazine and immediately caught the imagination of
the nation. Very decent war scenes that convey us the assault troops
establish in the Pacific island. The picture bring to life one of the
famous images of the WWII, Joe Rosenthal's photography of US marines
raising the flag at Iwo Jima, on the morning of February 23,1945 .The
three living survivors of the historic flag raising are Rene
Cagnon(Jesse Bradford), John Bradley(Ryan Phillippe)who attempted his
best to forget everything about his existence on Iwo Jima where his
best pal was captured and tortured to death and the native Ira Hayes.
The Indian Hayes suffered post-traumatic stress and his life was
disintegrated as he utilized alcohol to attempt to cope his fame, he
seemed to to alternate among despising his war experience and relishing
it. Interesting fact is the real-life Marines appeared in 'Sand of Iwo
Jima' by Allan Dawn with John Wayne, as the three marines who raise the
flag at Mount Suribachi went to each man and said that other who had
agreed to make it. The three reunited and put in their few days on the
set, appeared as themselves in the film, but they conned into making
it. The three protagonists actors are top-notch with special mention to
Adam Beach as Ira Hayes(whose life was acted by Tony Curtis in 'The
outsider,1961,'directed by Delbert Mann), a deranged native-American
soldier . The movie is a sensible commemoration to United States Marine
Corps whose exploits and valor have left a lasting impression of the
world and the hearts of their countrymen. It is enshrined in stone as a
monument in Washington D.C. near Arlington cemetery.
The motion picture is very well realized by Clint Eastwood and lavishly produced by Steven Spielberg. Perfect trio starring,Phillippe,Bradford and Beach and extraordinary secondary cast as Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough,Harve Presnell,Jamie Bell,Barry Pepper, Paul Walker and David Patrick Kelly as President Truman, among others. Evocative and colorful cinematography by Tom Stern. Perceptible and feeling musical score by Eastwood. Spectacular production design by Henry Bumstead in his last film , he worked for Alfred Hitchcock and Eastwood's habitual.
Adding more details along with the largely described on the movie, the deeds happened of the following way: Iwo Jima battle was a hard-fought US operation, but like the navy, the Us army fought its way from island to island in the Pacific and was one of the most difficult campaign of the Pacific theater. US capture of Japanese-held island in Bonin group about 1450 miles south of Tokio and under command of general Kuribayashi. Fortified by the Japanese with 1500 underground posts, it held two airfields, with a third under construction and was a valuable strategic target for US forces as it would provide a base for land-based 2221 bombers to raid mainland of Japan. After a tense fighting Feb-March 1945 , it was assaulted by US marines 19 Feb 1945 after a prolonged air and naval bombardment. The 22000 Japanese troops put up a fanatical resistance but the island was finally secured 10 March. US casualties came to 6891 killed and 18700 wounded, while only 212 of the Japanese garrison survived.
Clint Eastwood honors every man who died on the island of Iwo Jima in this gripping drama that depicts how that famous flag-raising picture came to be and the effect it had on the rest of the war. At times, this is a very difficult movie to watch, especially with the graphically violent fight sequences. However, looking past those, one can see a beautiful story about three men who were called heroes for something they really didn't do. The fact that their friends they fought with who really were the heroes died in their place drives them to feel very guilty, especially the native American Ira Hayes, played remarkably by Adam Beach. They all know who the real heroes are and Eastwood strives to make sure we do as well. Directed with visual flair, every shot is masterfully placed, and this is one of Eastwood's best efforts in a long and storied career. The acting is very believable, with Ryan Phillipe showing real skill, as well as Jesse Bradford. The script falters a little at the end by veering off a bit much and making this longer than it need be. Still, this is a great tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for their friends, not their country. It is a great war film and a great story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Flags of Our Fathers is a Second World War looking at the American
during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It focused on the five soldiers who put
up the famous flag after the capture of Mount Suribachi and how their
were used by the American government during the propaganda war.
The story was told in flashbacks, looking at the family of one of the soldiers in the modern day, before looking at the battle and the propaganda, avoiding telling it as a straight story. Before the film I thought that the flag was raised after the battle, but showed that it was raised on the fifth day of battle and that it wasn't the original flag.
The battle itself was showed to be brutal and shot in a similar style to Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg was a producer of the film). It also avoided judging either side and was balanced, a actual look at war, like A Bridge too Far and less like Braveheart. I also liked that it was a Second World War that looked at the war in the Pacific, which most films looked at the war in Europe.
After the battle the situation on the American Domestic Front. The war was becoming more unpopular, the death court was raising, the war in Europe was already won and that the war was costing too much. The surviving soldiers who raised the flag were used by the government and their senior officers to help raise money for the war from the American tax payers. Their made public speeches and re-enacted the raising of the flag in the most tacky way possible. The soldiers become disillusioned, one refusing to take part and another becoming an alcoholic and suffered racism.
The basic message of the film was that war was tough and brutal, that the government was willing to use the media and people to galvanic support. It also showed that the troops were used by their officers and government and could be seen as a hint against the Bush government and Iraq.
I also liked the fact Flags of Our Fathers was countered balanced with Letters from Iwo Jima, which focused on the Japanese during the battle, and was done in the style of more traditional war film, personally I think its even better then Flags of Our Fathers. Both are worth watching.
The acting was good in the film, but the key to Flags of Our Fathers was the writing from Paul Haggis and the direction of Clint Eastwood. This is a refreshing war film and I look forward to what else Eastwood and Haggis make. I also hope that more war-films are made to this kind of standard.
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