Clint Eastwoods companion piece to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is again
set during World War II. But in LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, he looks at
the war from the Japanese perspective, using Japanese dialogue.
With American forces on their way, General Kuribayashi (Ken
Watanabe, THE LAST SAMURAI) arrives on the island to find his
troops woefully under-trained and hopelessly outmatched. Japanese
pop and television star Kazunari Ninomiya plays Saigo, a young
soldier who asks, "Am I digging my own grave?" as he creates
trenches. With no hope of reinforcements, these men have little
hope of leaving the island alive.
Eastwood and director of photography Tom Stern paint their
picture in a palette of taupes and grays. The landscape of the
volcanic island is desolate, providing a hellish experience for the
stationed soldiers but a stark beauty for the audience. With this
bleak setting, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a powerful ode to duty in
dire circumstances. General Kuribayashi and Saigo provide the
emotional center of the film, giving a glimpse into the minds of
both seasoned officers and drafted novices. Eastwood doesnt deal in
simple heroes and villains; these characters are sympathetic and
real, whether their motives are pride, fear, or loyalty to their
country. Though only the Academy-Award-nominated Watanabe is a
familiar face to American audiences, each of the actors involved
displays his experience working in Japanese film, television, and
theater. The battle scenes are breathtaking and brutal, but its the
actors who are the core of the film. The picture has the standard
tropes found in any modern war film, like verbal abuse by a
superior and battle scenes filled with severed limbs. But Eastwood
goes beyond the war-movie boilerplate with this impressive film
that deserves every accolade it earns.
|Country of origin:
||170 x 135 x 10mm (L x W x T)
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