The island of Iwo Jima stands between the American military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favor the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester amongst his staff. In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese Army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honor, courage, and horrors beyond imagination.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
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String Quartet No.6, Op. 1-6, Hob. III-6, Mov.2
Composed by Joseph Haydn
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At the conclusion of the film a person behind me said, "Incredible," twice. Another person followed with, "A masterpiece." I would concur. Perhaps it isn't a perfect film but it is a movie with great impact. I find that it is a testament to the skill of Clint Eastwood as a director and Iris Yamashita as screenwriter that some of the scenes that had the greatest impact were of minor thingsa letter read out loud, the way someone saluted, a tear, a song...
There were no clear cut heroes or villains beyond "war" itself. I'm reminded of that saying, "No one wins a war. One side simply loses more than the other." War diminishes us all. We must learn to turn our backs on such endeavors even if it means that the military/industrial death merchants take a cut in profits or that they truly learn to hammer swords into plow shares.
If the film were to depict the battle in a manner that was realistically experienced by the soldiers the film would be unbearable to any viewer. One must see the battle and history as a kind of allegorical backdrop to a story about the utter inhumanity and futility of war. As a film it had to illustrate the overall societal insanity of war through a human lens, and it did this in a deeply moving way.
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