Published on March 19th, 2007 | by Chris7
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Flags of Our Fathers is the story of three men who were honored (I guess you could call it that) for their part in raising (one of) the flags over Iwo Jima in 1945.
However it portrays this “honor” as that of being used as marketing pawns in the name of selling more war bonds. Additionally it portrays two of the three in a somewhat questionable light. I don’t know if director Clint Eastwood did this on purpose or if it was just a reflection of the facts that were known to him and his staff, and having not read the book this was based off of, I can’t say for sure.
What I can say is I watched this movie and felt sort of, well, ticked off during most of it. Mostly because of the way these men were being portrayed. You have Rene, the guy who seems to be eating up all the fame and glory, at least thats how it seemed. Then there’s Ira Hayes, the native american who spends most of the “tour” drunk. Reflections of the facts? Again, I don’t know, but it was just unsettling and maddening.
Yes, I understand why. They did not see themselves as the heroes they were made out to be, they felt others deserved more credit than themselves. I guess that in itself makes up for it somewhat. The whole message (which is an excellent one we all should take to heart) seems to get lost in the negative portrayals.
The battle scenes are filmed spectacularly, and the continuity from one shot to the next, from airplane cockpit, to beach, to battleship is truly amazing. Although I still say they went way overboard with the color desaturation. These scenes nearly look black and white they’ve been toned out so much. The grit and fear comes through painfully spectacular.
On top of that the way the battle scenes are cut in between the scenes of the “war bond tour” can get confusing. There are a few times you wonder exactly what the timeline you’re looking at is. Which came first, where are we now, what the hell is going on… you get my drift.
Is this a good movie? Yes, and no. I’m not going to put it on par with the likes of Saving Private Ryan, or anything like that. Even though I think that’s what they were shooting for. I think the intentions were good, to create a Private Ryan-like memorial film for the men who fought and died in the Pacific. And I’ll give points for effort, but the whole thing just doesn’t fit together for me.
I also wonder if there isn’t some other message Mr. Eastwood was going for, that of the commercialism and exploitation of those we would call “heroes.”
There’s a lot to think about here, and there are a lot of moving moments that make this a worthwhile couple of hours, but keep in mind the message and try not to get as ticked off as I did! Focus on the honor they pay to “Doc” and you’ll come away a lot more un-angry.
Like I said I have not read the book by the same name, maybe I should. It may shed a different light on things. I’d be interested in any comments any readers may have on this, what your thoughts are.
Flags of Our Fathers (Widescreen Edition)
Thematically ambitious and emotionally complex, Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers is an intimate epic with much to say about war and the nature of heroism in America. Based on the non-fiction bestseller by James Bradley (with Ron Powers), and adapted by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis (Jarhead screenwriter William Broyles Jr…
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Paramount Home Video
Manufacturer: Dreamworks Video
Original Release Date:
- Ryan Phillippe
- Barry Pepper
- Joseph Cross
- Jesse Bradford
- Christopher Curry
Summary: Is this a good movie? Yes, and no. I'm not going to put it on par with the likes of Saving Private Ryan, or anything like that. Even though I think that's what they were shooting for. I think the intentions were good, to create a Private Ryan-like memorial film for the men who fought and died in the Pacific. And I'll give points for effort, but the whole thing just doesn't fit together for me.