Movie Review: Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

Understated Eastwood (anti)war movie

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by William Broyles Jr. and
Paul Haggis

Ryan Phillippe …. John “Doc” Bradley
Jesse Bradford …. Rene Gagnon
Adam Beach ….  Ira Hayes
John Benjamin Hickey …. Keyes Beech
John Slattery …. Bud Gerber
Barry Pepper …. Mike Strank
Jamie Bell …. Ralph “Iggy” Ignatowski
Paul Walker …. Hank Hansen
Robert Patrick …. Colonel Chandler Johnson

Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers is a touching rendition of the lives of three men who raised the flag that became “the single [camera] shot that can end the war” in the early days of the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945.

Three of the six men who raised that flag, then survived the battle, were extracted from the campaign to become spokesmen for the government’s successful War Bonds’ appeals.  They were paraded around the country as bona fide war heroes, to their embarrassment (and in the case of American Indian Ira Hayes, into a downward spiral of alcoholic self-destruction).

This is magic cinema, whether you like the war authenticity—the movie is coproduced by Eastwood and Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan)—or the reminiscent romantic touches of Bridges of Madison County.  Depicting such reality of battle has the effect of a hundred antiwar marches.  And Eastwood, whose companion movie is Letters from Iwo Jima, has indicated in interviews he regards the movies as gritty testaments to the evil of war. Continue reading