Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

What makes Clint Eastwood such a fantastic filmmaker is that he is not presumptious, or if he is, he hides it very well. There are no bad guys, just people struggling with their lot.

In this film we have people in overwhelming circumstances. 'Chief' the indian (native american) soldier who is made a hero and paraded around the country while at the same time facing racial slurs reveals a complex character who wants to do good, but has the hardest time holding it together. He's also lost a bunch of friends while fighting on Iwo Jima. 'Doc' couldn't adequately serve the people in his unit. Gagnon just didn't measure up, but managed to become famous because of being in a photo with Chief and Doc (the others in the famous flag raising photo died in combat).

Of course the real sting of the film is that the photo is not really the real thing, yet it is the image that the government peddles in order to raise funds and win the war.

The quality of the film is unique as it doesn't really take you from one place to another. It is as though we sit in a bunker for a couple hours with some guys who are going through a lot. They don't recuperate, but we can share their burden for a little while. It brings the scale of the Pacific theatre of World War II down to the imperfect individual and his own private war.

Next: Letters from Iwo Jima.

Official Site | IMDB

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