Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Flags of Our Fathers- A review

I have grown up on Clint Eastwood in adolescence and later when a little bit matured admired Speilberg. So when the two blend their cinematic creative juices, nothing could stop me from viewing the film – Flags of Our Fathers.

Flags of our Fathers follows the lives of three surviving members who raised the American flag in 1945 a second time atop a hill in a tiny island Iowa Jima and how the government used these three individuals and the media to sell war bonds to the American public. The film is very critical on the way war is sold to the public.
The film depicts war scenes to make the viewer understand that there's nothing glorifying about killing or to be killed on the battlefield. The only thing that matters is that you protect your friends in the battlefield and that they protect you. One of the characters, Ira Hayes , the native American ( Indian) says in the film, “ They fight for their country but they die for their friends.”
Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach played by John "Doc" Bradley, Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes respectively were partly responsible for the second American flag raising that graced newspapers and magazine covers all over the world.The photograph has become an iconic image of hope and American victory in WWII. But hold your breath- it is literally stage managed. When US marines took over the Island Iowa Jima in the Pacific off Japan in 1945 after a fierce and brutal battle , the American flag was raised on top of the hill. The flag was small and not imposing. So the commander sends a larger flag later and Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped off this shot when the flag was being raised a second time. The photograph was all over the front pages of the US newspapers. The US government quickly sizes up the nations’s mood and parades the surviving members of the flag raisers in a cross-country tour to sell war bonds.
But the applause for heroism showered upon the three men is at odds with their own personal realizations that thousands of real heroes lie dead on Iwo Jima, and that their own contributions to the fight are only symbolic and not deserving of the accolades heaped upon them. Each of the three must come to terms with the honors, exploitation, and grief that they face simply for being in a photograph.
Clint eastwood uses flashback such extensively that one gets sometimes confused. The film is not an anti-war film but comes close to that genre.


Monty said...

I don’t know if you had a chance to watch the other movie which was made by Clint Eastwood at the same time “Letters from IWO JIMA”. It’s a Japanese movie highlighting the final few days of the Royal Army in Iwo Jima.

Ken Watanabe (from Pirates of the Carribbean “At worlds end”) is one of the most talented actors in contemporary cinema. If you get a chance, do definitely watch the movie.



Ramana said...

I haven't yet watched the movie " Letters from Iwo Jima". it will be interesting to see how perspective changes with two opposing sides.