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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed But Still Powerful
Iwo Jima ("Sulfur Island" in Japanese) is a little island six hundred miles south of Tokyo. (Today there is only a Japanese military base now, and you cannot visit the island.) But the name of the island got famous immediately after one photo was taken and published in America nationwide during WWII. The memorable image of six soldiers raising a flag gave courage to the...
Published on December 15, 2006 by Tsuyoshi

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film - wait for the combo with letters from Iwo Jima
This was a great film. I saw it in the theater. However, the DVD edition is a short changer (why I gave it 3 stars). For certain, within 6 months there will be a box set out with this film and the companion piece "Letters from Iwo Jima". Save the money and purchase it then. I predict that package will also have plenty of extras. Don't fall for the old marketing trick of...
Published on February 7, 2007 by Samuel B. King


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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed But Still Powerful, December 15, 2006
By 
Tsuyoshi (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
Iwo Jima ("Sulfur Island" in Japanese) is a little island six hundred miles south of Tokyo. (Today there is only a Japanese military base now, and you cannot visit the island.) But the name of the island got famous immediately after one photo was taken and published in America nationwide during WWII. The memorable image of six soldiers raising a flag gave courage to the people in America, and three surviving soldiers returning their country became national heroes. It's a famous story.

Clint Eastwood's new film `Flags of Our Fathers' does not try to `debunk' this story. It gives human face to these flag-holing soldiers without over-glorifying them, showing what happened to these heroes John "Doc" Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford) and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach) before, during, and after the Battle of Iwo Jima. Familiar actors like Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick and Barry Pepper appear, but the three above play the pivotal roles here.

Remember this is a war movie, and the battle scenes on the beach are often disturbing. (One of the film's producers is Steven Spielberg). Though the fight scenes are less bloody and brutal than those of `Saving Private Ryan,' they are still honest, often shocking, not only because of the bullets and grenades, but because of the confusion and total chaos of the grey-colored battlefield. Eastwood refuses to soften or sensationalize anything, but the results are riveting.

Though the film's theme is clear, its narrative requires our patience a little. The film's story goes back and forth (screenplay part done by Paul Haggis, `Crush'), and this only makes the film look slightly detached from us. The disjointed story requires us to reconstruct, not follow, the experiences of the soldiers. The emotions are certainly there on the screen (thanks to the effective acting), but I am not sure that this is the best way to visualize them. But as I said, the three actors did a fine job as three soldiers who travel around the country for Bond rallies where they have to face another reality during wartime - they are war heroes and people expect them to behave as such.

Finally, some people, not without good reason, say this film is dull. It is true that Eastwood's films tend to be slow, and he takes time to show certain things about the characters. He avoids melodramatic storytelling and showy camerawork, and that does not change in this film. If the battle scenes look confusing, it is perhaps because the war is confusing. If the descirtios of their life as war hero look boring, that is because it is really boring; they were required to do the same thing again and again before finally being forgotten. We just share their feeling, but perhaps too much of it.

This is Clint Eastwood's most ambitious film (and there is "Letters from Iwo Jima" still waiting), and maybe too ambitious as far as its screenplay is concerned. I am impressed with the film, however, with the sincere message from the director who realized the one of the saddest events in history for both people in America and Japan with his touch subtle and powerful at the same time.
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92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the Book FIRST!!!, December 16, 2006
By 
Susan Palmbach (Northeastern Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
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For all the negative responses to the movie "Flags of Our Fathers" I would guess 85% did not read the book with the same title by James Bradley, son of John "Doc" Bradley. This book will give you the whole, true story of what the movie is all about with many details not shown in the film. You will get so much more out of the movie. I can't even fathom seeing the film beforehand. I am absolutely NOT soliciting the book but I am personally acquainted with the Bradley family and my extended family from Antigo, Wisconsin were very good friends with John and continue to be with his wife Betty. My cousins went to school with James and his siblings. John was the funeral director for my grandmother and others I know. I have attended memorials for "Jack" in Appleton, WI (where he went to school), after the book was released. Jim Bradley, the author of "Flags of Our Fathers" agonized over writing the book and consulted with his family whether to do it until he got the go ahead from his mother. Since his father only spoke of the war once to his family is the reason, in the movie, there isn't much personal information on him. People who wrote other reviews stated that they were confused as to why James was interviewing other WWII, Iwo Jima families. This is why. As for the other "stars" of the movie, which very little is said about their personal lives before and then again after the war you will find many details in the book which will help you to understand what lies beneath each personality. I cried when I read the book and I cried when I saw the movie. PLEASE read the book first, or if you've already seen the movie before reading the book, read it and then go back and see the movie again!
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Even Like War Movies, But This Was Great..., March 7, 2007
In 2006, Clint Eastwood launched one of his most inspired projects; Two war movies, set during World War II on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. "Flags of Our Fathers" was the first. It received generally good reviews, but had a lukewarm reception from audiences. Then came the 2nd one, the Japanese language "Letters from Iwo Jima." That film received great reviews, was embraced by audiences, and was nominated for Best Picture. Having said that, "Flags of Our Fathers" definitely falls into the category of underrated. I don't particularly like war movies, but this is a great film and I think it's one of the best films of 2006. The cast is made up of mostly young actors, often called "pretty-boys" such as Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, and Paul Walker.

It also features an Oscar worthy supporting performance by Adam Beach and some great supporting work by Jamie Bell, Barry Pepper, and others. Phillippe plays John "Doc" Bradley, a Navy Corpsman. Bradford plays Rene Gagon, a runner. Beach plays Ira Hayes, an Indian. These three men go from mere soldiers to American heroes after a picture is taken of them raising the flag. Thrust into the spotlight, the men cope with being considered heroes when they point out that the real heroes are the men lying dead on the island of Iwo Jima. Eastwood uses cinematography with a heightened visual reality that makes the film a wonder to behold. Now, as I said, audiences haven't received this movie in the same way they did say "Saving Private Ryan." I will say that out of the last few films Eastwood has directed (Mystic River & Million Dollar Baby), this one is the weakest. But it's an inspired project with a great script, terrific cinematography, wonderful performances, and great direction. Beach (a relative newcomer) delivers the best performance in the movie, really getting under the skin of the most troubled of the characters. Phillippe and Bradford are also very good, although hardly Oscar worthy. A lot of people complain that the film doesn't make you care enough about the characters and that is partly true. It's certainly not as character-driven as "Saving Private Ryan" or "The Deer Hunter," but I liked the characters and did care about them so I guess it's just a matter of perspective. Even if you're hesitant to see this film because you don't like war movies or something, I urge you to see it. It's a great film.

GRADE: A-
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Though they fought for their country, they died for their fellow soldiers!!!, February 15, 2007
By 
Wayne C. Rogers (Las Vegas, Nevada United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
With Flags Of Our Fathers receiving so many negative reviews, I hesitated in buying the DVD. Still, I'm a big fan of Clint Eastwood as both an actor and a director, plus I love movies about World War II. I purchased the film and found myself really liking it. I was surprised. Maybe it's because I wasn't expecting big things to happen. Anyway, I had no trouble with the flash-backs, or the character development, or the fact that the battle for Iwo Jima wasn't covered as heavily as was the effort to raise money with the rallies for War Bonds. I had no problem following the movie and was caught up in it within the first few minutes. I thought the performances were excellent by all three of the main actors (Jesse Bradford, Ryan Phillippe and Adam Beach), and that Clint Eastwood did a marvelous job of conveying the fact that war is hell and that no soldier goes untouched by what he or she experiences. In fact, the movie made me feel sad for what the real-life soldiers--John "Doc" Bradley, Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes--had to go through once the war was over. One day you're a celebrity, then the next day no one wants to return your phone calls. I have nothing bad to say about Flags Of Our Fathers. I really enjoyed this movie and look forward to seeing Letters From Iwo Jima when it comes out on DVD in a few months. As far as extras go, there are none on this DVD. If you want to buy it, my suggestion would be to wait for the Director's Cut, or the Special Two-disc Collector's Edition, to come out some time in the next couple of months. Mr. Eastwood always does a Special Edition of his Oscar nominated films. Though I'll always see Clint Eastwood as his most famous character, "Dirty" Harry Callahan, I have to admit to being extremely pleased with how he's done as a director. This is one man who'll always make your day, if you give him the opportunity. A great film maker with a great story to tell!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, January 31, 2007
I'm sick of people trying to compare this movie with Saving Private Ryan. They aren't even close enough or have enough similarities between them to compare. Saving Private Ryan was a flat-out action movie, and the character development wasn't as good as this. Don't get me wrong, Saving Private Ryan was one of my favorites, but in my opinion, Flags is better.

Flags of our Fathers is much more of a drama, and the battle scenes are stretched out in the movie, and when they do show themselves, they are brief, yet action-packed. Since Spielberg had a hand in the movie, the characteristic color-desaturation is apparent throughout the film. The effects are very good, and I got chills when they showed Suribachi being shelled from afar.

The character story is very deep in Flags, and you truly feel for each soldier that the movie focuses upon. Ira Hayes, played by Adam Beach, steals the show with his incredibly haunting performance. Never in this movie did I become bored. But as for you war-movie fans who only want blood and violence, this one will probably disappoint you, although its action scenes were done extremely well.

The majority of the movie is after the three surviving flag-raisers are taken home to take part in a bond-drive. The actual war-scenes are random flashbacks throughout the movie. The rest of the movie that hasn't been mentioned takes place before James Bradley wrote the book on which the movie was based. He is interviewing his father and such, and these scenes are quite a small percentage of the overall film, but very emotional.

Overall, this movie is one of the top films I've ever seen, and Clint's companion, Letters from Iwo Jima, was equally impressive. I was upset when Clint didn't get a best director bid for flags, but Letters is up for "best film," so I was ok. This movie will certainly be in the top of my collection for as long as I live.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Eastwood's Best, November 12, 2006
This may be the most outstanding movie dealing with war since The Best year's of Our Lives. I compare it to that because they are both about men experiencing war and confronting coming home. I sit here two days after seeing Flags of Our Fathers and it still resonates within me. It isn't a conventional story arc like Saving Private Ryan and it has a higher bar to clear to convincingly express deeper, more complex themes. Some of the more cynical critics only see it as a rehash of the simple theme that war is hell. Undoubtably, this is one of the themes since Iwo Jima was as hellish as they come. But Eastwood succeeds in much more than that. Never have I seen a more compelling style bringing the viewer to grips with something they can never truly understand without being there. No one is patronized, canonized, or stereotyped, only humanized without sentimentality or simplification. Eastwood is a mature master, and possibly the only current director capable of authentically examining the human soul. I haven't seen any other movie this year on this level. Too bad they probably won't give him back to back Best Director and Best Picture awards, but he deserves it. Best Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography should also go to this picture. Most of all, Adam Beach should get Best Actor for his portrayal of Ira Hayes. If you don't read the book before seeing it, I recommend you at least google the story James Bradley told at the Iwo Jima Memorial to some tourists. It's a nice preface about the men in the immortal photo of Joe Rosenthal.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flags of our Fathers, March 9, 2007
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Eastwood's best yet! Gets to the heart of the statement "War is Hell." Nothing heroic there--just grunts doing their "job" and scared like any sane person would be. An entirely new and accurate look at the demanding job our Marines and sailors did in WWII. Should NOT be missed, especially by WWII vets, and ALL students.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flags of Our Fathers, March 11, 2007
As a World War II student, I found this movie quite accurate. If you are looking for "the battle of Iwo Jima", this is not it. This movie covers the time frame the flag raisers were on the island and the memories they accumulated. An excellent movie, I look forward to the companion movie.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendous !, March 8, 2007
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Magnificently done. Matched with his "Letter from Iwo Jima" Eastwood has created both an historical masterpiece and a true depiction of the futility of war!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT WWII MOVIE, March 5, 2007
This movie captured the heroes who were there to serve their country, the brutality of war...i have seen many wwii movies and this is one of the very best.
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Flags of Our Fathers (Full Screen Edition)
Flags of Our Fathers (Full Screen Edition) by Clint Eastwood (DVD - 2007)
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