Flags of Our Father

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Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, Barry Pepper and John Benjamin Hickey
RunTime: 132 mins
Genre: War
Rating: NC-16 (War Violence)

Iwo Jima is remembered for two good reasons: The death toll is one of the largest in the Marine Corps history in World World Two. And more importantly, it captured one of the greatest photographs of all time.

Joe Rosenthal's picture depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It is not only a photograph, but a symbol of hope and sacrifice.

The flag raisers Hayes, Gagnon and "Doc" gained immediate celebrity status. But little do the public know of the burden and pressure of the new found fame of these incidental heroes, who were not the original flag raisers.

Flags of Fathers is not only a war movie, but one of the sacrifices made with status and the symbolic meaning of heroes. Fans of Saving Private Ryan will find this one paling in comparison, both in terms direction and colour.

Paul Haggis seem to be lacking in his magical touch with his confusing screenplay. While it is understandable why it is not told in a literal style, random and irrevelent flashbacks only choose to slow down the pace. While the Oscars favour Clint Eastwood many times, his latest take on directing and composing the soundtrack (which has a simplistic score) show emotional detachment.

The original book is big. The photograph is bigger. But the movie Flags of Our Father failed to show the magnitude and emotions that it should have achieved.

(Trivia: There will be a movie Letters from Iwo Jima scheduled soon, also directed by Clint Eastwood. )

Flags of Our Father – The book will be a better read

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