I've always felt that when you fictionalize a story about war, you dishonor the memory of so many people who have a compelling story to tell by choosing to make something up instead *cough*privateryan*cough*.The problem with war movies about real people is that you have to deal with complexities of character and plot that the genre simply doesn't lend itself easily to.So when the story at hand aims to pose questions like "what does it mean to do the wrong things for the right reasons" and tries to debunk the popular myth of herodom, there's very little margin for <more>
error.Enter Clint Eastwood. Never one to shy away from challenging stories, this is a much bigger effort than his usual understated character dramas. On the one hand, it doesn't "feel" like a Clint Eastwood movie, but on the other, it feels at home in his themes of used-up heroes -- the person behind the larger than life persona. These are complex characters in very difficult situations, and he presents them in a way that's straightforward and non-judgmental, so we're left to decide the answers to the film's central conflicts ourselves.To a person, the cast is up to the challenge. It's hard not to admire Ryan Phillippe for a restrained and thoughtful performance, but the real kudos go to Adam Beach. Almost every aspect of Beach's character is cliché, with one minor exception - that's really the way Ira Hayes was. So the challenge was to portray Hayes as a real person despite the cliché, and the result is one of the most heartbreaking and troubling performances in the film. Here's a guy who is portrayed as a hero, who really has no answers at all.There's a lot not to like about the film. It's not "entertaining" per se, in the same way that any war memorial in DC is not entertaining. Nor is it a particularly approachable film. What it lacks in popcorn-munching entertainment value, it replaces with gravitas. This is an important film, about an important time. It's status as a valuable history lesson is secondary to it's reflections on human nature and our society. As such, it deserves to be seen, and contemplated, and appreciated.I can't wait for Letters From Iwo Jima the companion piece, also from Clint Eastwood, told from the Japanese point of view. Taken together, the scope of this project is breathtaking.
This is an honest forthright portrayal of an important historical and cultural event. Mystic River garnered a lot of acclaim but I hated the film. While Flags appears choppy as it sets the stage, Eastwood manages to bring the story full circle giving it a sense of closure. This closure is a pleasant surprise in an era of empty Hollywood films. This is a much richer and more powerful movie experience than River or many of the Hollywood issue films. People of all ages should see the film but a powerful movie for children to see with their parents, especially their fathers. My dad is a veteran <more>
of the Korean War and my father-in-law fought in WWII. Unlike many war films, this film carries a sense of hope in a world of chaos. It is a tribute to all our veterans; yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I was hesitant to see this because I figured it would be a patriotic appeal for war. What I found was very surprising. First of all, I commend the writer and filmmaker for having a Native American as one of the main characters. Navajo codetalkers were instrumental in our success, but few movies have even mentioned them. In fact, the John Woo film focused more on Nicolas Cage's character than the always excellent Adam Beach. In Flags of Our Fathers, we see how the war has impacted the lives of three men. The most touching story was Ira Hayes, played by Beach. I think he should win an Oscar <more>
for his portrayal. He conveyed much more warmth and had much more depth than the other "leads." Even though the narrative was indeed disjointed, if you have the attention span, you can figure it out. Even though the film was two and one-half hours, it didn't feel like it. I found the story very compelling, and a refreshing antidote to a lot of the war films we see. No matter which side you fight on, war is not kind, and Eastwood depicts that well. Overall, a fine effort from all involved.
In two and a half hours Clint Eastwood paints a thought provoking piece on heroism and war-propaganda. The film tells three stories: first it is the WW II battle of Iwo Jima where thousands of soldiers Japanese and American died 'conquering' that island. In the style of Saving Private Ryan Spielberg is a producer of Flags the viewer gets a astounding look at war with a lot of blood, guts and CGI. Second is the story of a son of one of the flag raisers on that island, who interviews other survivors of that battle to understand his dad a little better. This is very moving stuff, but <more>
stands a little pale in comparison to the final storyline. This is where veteran-director Eastwood really shines. Like his meditation on violence Unforgiven, Flags takes a closer look at heroism where soldiers by chance get into the spotlight of the war-propaganda-machine. Some may say that Eastwood made an anti-war film or even an anti-America film, but they're wrong. Flags is very critical on the way war is sold to the public. There's nothing honorable about killing or to be killed on the battlefield. The only thing that matters is that you protect you're friends in your platoon and that they protect you. Flags is one of the best war movies I ever saw, maybe even better than Ryan, because it's never sentimental and always honest in its portrayal of the soldiers and war in general.
Clint Eastwood is currently undergoing a renaissance in film-making. In Hollywood, he is one of the most surprising, challenging and honest filmmakers today. Therefore it was with great curiosity when he announced that he would tell the story about the battle on the island of Iwo Jima, February 1945.The main theme of the story is what makes a hero? Do they exist in war? Eastwood examines this theory in the battle of Iwo Jima. A flag is raised on top of Mount Suribachi that signifies peace and an end to the war. A photo is taken, and it is a symbol of freedom.The story exists on several <more>
levels. There is the battle on Iwo Jima, told in flashbacks, the reception of the three main characters - John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes - and the recollection of these memories in present day to James Bradley.In the story of Iwo Jima, we see the battle through the soldiers eyes. They set out for the island in their buoyant, expectant spirits. We face their anticipation once they touch down on the beach. And we are unsettled when we realise in war, things don't always go to plan. In fact does the "good" side win, furthermore do they exist?Running concurrently to the account of the battle on Iwo Jima, the three "heroes" of the flag raising are welcomed back home as heroes. Do they deserve such a title? In fact they say they do not. Who has the right to be a hero and what kinds of power do they have? The war had long lasting effects for all of them, sometimes it was the memories that destroyed the men.The third strand exists in the present day. James Bradley is the author of the book on which the film is based. He is listening to accounts of the battle from war veterans. His father John, played by Ryan Phillipe, was in the battle and forms most of the flashbacks that tell of the combat on the island. We already learn much from history and past evils that it is impossible not to appreciate the power we have today to ensure peace and economic stability in the world.Because the film is told in flashback, some viewers may find the non-linear structure unsettling and disorienting. The process of deciphering what we see on screen is meant to emulate the way our memory is structured. Just as John Bradley finds it difficult to relive the atmosphere of Iwo Jima due to traumatic experiences, we have to question, what effect does war have on people many years later? Does it change into the person we have become? And how do we live with ourselves after experiencing horror of the worst kind?The acting is admirable all around: Ryan Phillipe creates a honourable figure persevering throughout war time while his friends fall away. Jesse Bradford copes best after the war but fame is short-lived. And Adam Beach is a man tormented by the effect of war; a man who has lost his personal identity. He struggles with the concept of "we are what we do".Eastwood's direction is outstanding. He has managed to create a film that makes no judgments, preserves the integrity of these people yet examines their life in war. The screenplay by previous collaborator Haggis, is insightful, thought-provoking and poignant. He takes no simple sides on the good and bad of war but meditates on what it means to the individual. How does a country sustain itself during war. Can a war be entirely truthful?He finds shapes and patterns in war, that suggest the uncertainty of battle, the serenity of the landscape, and the meaning of victory. The music scored by Eastwood is heartfelt, non-intrusive yet elicits shades of heroism and hope. The use of lighting in the film suggest different ways of looking at the battlefield.The scenes involving "the three" when they return home are heartbreaking. To protect the identity of their fallen mates, they are forced bend the truth to their parents and the public. People are willing to accept heroes but only under fanfare and while they are still the flavour of the month. Ira Hayes' fall as a hero fades as quickly as his life situation.It is absolutely refreshing to hear from Eastwood his reflections on war without resorting to boisterous patriotism or feel-good sentimental endings. Such is his take on this turning point in war history, that the film is not primarily about the war, but the effects of it on those who served. We discover there are no heroes. The final scene is a revival on the idea of war and this great American director. This one stayed with me for a long time.
I have to say that this film was eastwoods better works of history.The ability to bring out the real feelings in people about how we view the human race in general.I enjoyed this film for the simple reason that WWII was a turning point in how we see each other.How to come together in the highest need to overcome obstacles in the darkest hour.As the flag was raised and having a photographer just at that moment to take a picture of the flag being raised,coincidence flew out the door.But the film goes further as we see each one remembering the pain it created,from a simple misunderstanding about <more>
who gets what flag and why.If anything the flag should have went to the soldiers who fought there at iwogima.But like the narrations pointed out,it was a forgotten past and the hero's also forgotten.It's sad to think that the human race no longer sees why war is not necessary,just as long as money is made in the name of war is what it's all about.They were right though,without the money it would have been lost to the Japanese at least that part of the world.But in reality it would still be Japanese soil.This film impacted on all sorts of levels,financial gain through war,the soldiers dying because of money being made,artillery paid for by millions of people,and the suffering going home without so much as a thank you for keeping the world safe.In reality the soldiers who fought and died i would like to call real hero's.No matter what flag was planted,and why today most of the yesteryear men and women are nearly gone.I have to say this film gave me a bit more understanding why war is becoming a thing of the past.We don't need it and don't want it,flag or not we need this world safe and i think Mr. Eastwood gave us a good vision of it becoming a reality.So go ahead make his day.
The story is realistic and very compelling by not glorifying war (by the-movie-guy)
Synopsis There were five Marines and one Navy Corpsman photographed raising the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945. "Flags of Our Fathers" is the story of three of the six surviving servicemen, John "Doc" Bradley Ryan Phillippe , Pvt. Rene Gagnon Jesse Bradford , and Pvt. Ira Hayes Adam Beach , who fought in the battle to take Iwo Jima. The picture became one of the most famous images of the U.S. winning a battle during WWII. However, the battle for Iwo Jima raged on for another month with three of the marines being killed in action. The <more>
other three servicemen were taken out of battle and flown back to the states. The photo made these men heroes, and the government used these new heroes to promote the selling of war bonds on the War Bond Tour. The three men did not believe they were heroes, even though the American public did. My Comment The film was based on the book written by Doc's son, James Bradley. It wasn't until his father's death that he found out that Doc was one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers. Soldiers with real combat experiences usually keep their war stories to themselves. Clint Eastwood directed the film, and he didn't pull any punches in the battle scenes, even though the battle for Iwo Jima was considered one of the bloodiest against the Japanese in the Pacific. The only problem I had with the movie was that Eastwood used too many flashbacks that jumped around and made the movie hard to follow. The movie would have been better if Eastwood had gone in chronicle order with some flashbacks. During the battle scenes, you actually see the chaos that soldiers encounter on the battlefield. Overall, I found the story to be realistic and very compelling by not glorifying war. It is a long movie, but the time passes very fast. This film will receive many Oscar nominations. Some of the movie is graphically violent and shows the dark side of war, and the effects war has on our returning soldiers. Warner Brothers Pictures, Run time 2:12, Rated R 8/10
Great inside view into three of the men in the famous Iwo Jima picture (by earthsound)
"Flags of Our Fathers" is a well written account of the impact on the lives of three young servicemen by a single photograph seen back home as an image of victory. Little did nearly everyone know at the time, and apparently even today, the photograph depicted the 2nd raising of the flag. The "heroes" in the photograph felt far from heroic.Clint Eastwood juxtaposes memories of the preparation leading up to and in addition to the actual events at the Battle of Iwo Jima with ceremony after ceremony of War Bond fund-raising and the different effects it had on each man. To <more>
some, this jumping around, time-wise, may be a bit confusing, especially with the inconsistent use of a narrator.The battle scenes were, at times, gruesome and graphic, but were not overdone and successfully instilled a sense of what is was really like in the costliest battle the United States fought. The most gruesome scene, though, was left to the imagination.This was the first depiction of the Battle of Iwo Jima I've seen that attempts to divulge the mostly unknown faces of the men made famous by a photograph and the problems they faced at home.It was also one of the only movies I've seen where all save 1 of the audience stayed for all of the credits and when the credits ended, there was a long, silent moment shared by all.In summary: Powerful.I'm looking forward to Eastwood's "Letters from Iwo Jima" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0498380/
Flags of Our Fathers - a banner movie for the old guy, Eastwood (by MovieZoo)
Wanna see a movie that will make you think about the meaning of war? See Flags of Our Fathers.You may very well feel like I did after watching this movie. I felt like I was assaulted as much as the enemy. I saw more war and blood than I expected. As movies go, this part of the movie was done as any good war movie should be done. You see the enemy, you kill while spilling blood all over the place, get killed while spilling blood all over the place, and then you make people cry.In Flags, you have more to deal with than blood and tears. You have to deal with the sweat and cold heartedness from <more>
both sides. Hmmm, both sides...? Maybe not for people like Ira Hayes. There was definitely more than 2 sides for Ira and maybe even for you.No matter who you are or what you are, there is something in Flags of Our Fathers that should make you notice the reality of war. Yes, I am saying this is a thoughtful movie. If you want war and blood and nothing else, you need a slasher movie. You will see how war is fought by people at all levels of life in more dimensions than are normally obvious. War sucks, people can suck, but this movie does not suck.To everyone involved, thanks for the reality check. Hopefully everyone who sees this movie can read between the lines - on all sides of all lines.The story is GOOD, the cold-hearted bast**ds are BAD and the war is UGLY. But you don't see Clint Eastwood. However, you do feel his million dollar touch and he will not go unforgiven.8 out of 10