Review: Letters From Iwo Jima

Letters From Iwo Jima
7 10

Set on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II, the Japanese prepare for battle with the incoming waves of American soldiers. During this preparation, we explore their points of view, their fears, their perspectives as soldiers and most importantly, their determination to survive the battle. Of course, there were some that truly believed in the cause and were willing to die for it.

I enjoyed this film much more than FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (Clint Eastwood's American "side" of this same war) and you don't have to have seen that one to understand what's happening in this one. This isn't a war movie, it's a great character-driven story depicted in a way that we're not used to seeing in "war" flicks.

The entire movie was all in subtitles, with the exception for the scenes with the Americans. But this is what made the movie so engaging with the characters. Aside from Ken Watanabe, who's awesome as General Kuribayashi (If I was one of his soldiers, I'd follow this guy naked into a burning building if he was leading me), I didn't recognize any other actors, but I'm pretty sure most of them are well known from their respective countries. All of their performances were excellent, so good, that at one point it felt like I was in the cave with these guys listening into their conversations.

The film makes you really feel for these guys and you see how propaganda demonizes your enemy on both sides. But at the end of the day, they’re just like you and me with families to which they want to get back home. Then you have the die-hard soldiers, to whom duty and country comes first and dying for that cause is the most honorable thing to do. But you know what…the way it was presented in this film, you respected those characters just as much as the ones who were scared and just trying to stay alive.

In terms of directing, this isn't one of Eastwood’s best, but that doesn't make it a bad film. I did like the grayish hue throughout the movie, as it kinda gave it that vintage look (almost like an old black and white war movie from the 50's). However, I did feel like he overused the fade-to-black transitions too much. If there was an artistic reason for this, I must have missed it. Most of the action sequences were pretty much the same ones from FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, but just from a different angle, although they were still cool and intense. Come to think of it, it felt like there were less battle sequences in this one, but that didn't matter because it wasn't about the battles.

This is a great character-driven "war" movie and was much more engaging than FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. But I think I want to see both films back to back to try to match up the battle sequences and see where they intertwined. The cool thing about this piece is that you don't have to like war movies to enjoy it!

Apocalypto (8/10) Blood Diamond (7/10) Borat (9/10) Crank (8/10) Deja Vu (6/10) Eragon (4/10) Flushed Away (4/10) Grudge 2 (5/10) Harsh Times (7/10) Last King of Scotland (6/10) Rocky Balboa (7/10) Stranger Than Fiction (7/10) The Departed (9/10) The Holiday (6/10) The Nativity Story (7/10) The Prestige (8/10) The Pursuit of Happyness (6/10)

-- by Tim Goernert

Source: JoBlo.com



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