Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2006. DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Amblin Entertainment, Malpaso Productions. Screenplay by William Broyles Jr., Paul Haggis, based on the book by James Bradley, Ron Powers. Cinematography by Tom Stern. Produced by Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Steven Spielberg. Music by Clint Eastwood. Production Design by Henry Bumstead. Costume Design by Deborah Hopper. Film Editing by Joel Cox. Academy Awards 2006. Golden Globe Awards 2006.
Clint Eastwood gives the dramatic depth to a World War II movie that was missing from Saving Private Ryan and the Band Of Brothers series to this heartfelt film that captures the experience of American soldiers in the battle of Iwo Jima. More specifically it centres around the now famous photograph of soldiers raising the flag on the top of the island’s mountain that gave hope to a nation for victory and whose subsequent national monument become one of the most recognizable symbols of that period in American history. After barely surviving the battle, three of the six soldiers in the photograph do a national tour to promote war bonds and help a practically bankrupt government keep their interests alive overseas. Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford and Ryan Phillippe are the three in question, all of whom have different reactions to the magnificent response they get from the American people in between various flashbacks to key moments in battle that they can’t shake from their minds. It’s an excellent film, filled with strong performances and striking period detail, and captured with exceptional grace by the director, but its immediate follow-up Letters From Iwo Jima, about the Japanese side of the battle, has a lyrical grace that makes it the superior of the two.