Mar 10, 2007

Letters From Iwo Jima

Letters From Iwo Jima is a powerful, highly emotional, important film about the futility of war. This is legendary film maker Clint Eastwood's companion piece to last year's "Flags of Our Fathers". That filmed focused on the American soldiers battle to win the small island of Iwo Jima in the dying days of World War II. It also told the story of the Marines that raised the US flag and how that single act turned into a publicity drive for the war. This remarkable film tells the story from the Japanese point of view. Filmed almost entirely in Japanese, with the cast also from that country, this movie is based around letters that doomed Japanese soldiers sent home to their loved ones. Shot beautifully in washed out colour that makes everything seem grey and bleak, the images will stay with you for days. These are images of young men sacrificing their life for their country, although the feeling that stays with you, is just what a terrible waste of human life. The Japanese were fighting a losing cause, vastly out numbered and out gunned, they were still prepared to give up their lives in the name of country and emperor. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) knows this from the day he is sent to command the defense of the barren little isle. Watanabe is outstanding as the man who is noble and compassionate, as he looks after his men, knowing full well that their death is inevitable. Also wonderful is Kazunari Ninomiya as "Saigo", a humble baker who is non plussed by the futility of the battle, but nonetheless turns into a heroic character. In fact the whole cast is excellent, portraying every drop of human emotion in the face of grim reality. This is a magnificent film that quietly but assuredly becomes an anti-war statement before your very eyes. Highly recommended.


  • At May 30, 2008 , Blogger Librarian said...

    I just watched the DVD and was blown away by it. The scene where Gen. Kuribayashi listens to the radio broadcast of the children singing had me in tears. The utter absurdity of this being the sole assistance they got, plus the poignancy and irony of the song, was incredible. I don't know if Ken Watanabe was nominated for best actor but he should have been.


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