Soundtrack to the Academy Awardwinner Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, the untold story of the Japanese soldiers and their general who, 61 years ago, defended against the invading American forces on the island of Iwo Jima.
Although the second part of Clint Eastwood diptych about the battle of Iwo Jima following Flags of Our Fathers
is told from the point of view of the Japanese troops, the score, by Eastwood's son Kyle and Michael Stevens, feels very western. As is common in a lot of Hollywood movies, it revolves around a main theme that resurfaces several times. Opener "Main Titles" is where it gets its initial and fullest airing, first on a sadness-tinged piano, then on a trumpet (for that somber bugle feel, no doubt) backed up by drums and strings. Again it pops up, slower this time, at the beginning of the very next track, "Letters Montage," and so on, including a spectral take on echoey piano on "Kuribayashi's Farewell Letter" and yet another sorrowful trumpet interpretation on "End Titles Part I." It's all fine and good, but the CD only lasts 37 minutes and that theme takes up a lot of them. The good news is that matching director Eastwood's thoughtful approach, the music is decidedly unflashy and unwarriorlike--no thunderous eruptions here. On the other hand, there's not much to sink your teeth into. The most affecting track turns out to be "Song for the Defense of Iwo Jima," sung, in Japanese, by young children. --Elisabeth Vincentelli