Flags Of Our Fathers

Flag of Our Fathers

Flags of Our Fathers is a compelling war time story that portrays the lives of the 6 men immortalized in perhaps one of the most important war photographs ever to be caught on film.The film revolves around the lives of men who fought the battle at Iwo Jima and more specifically around those who raised the American flag during the course of the war.  The film is shown as the story of a person who tries to understand his father’s role  in this particular event.

My love for war time movies was all it took to get me to watch this movie. However it must be said that this movie could have been made a whole lot better.Ryan Phillippe who portrays the character of John ‘Doc’ Bradley fails to impress at all as he appears to constantly do one thing – stare at the camera. The only actor who managed to bring forth any emotion was Adam Beach who portrayed Ira Hayes. Apart from a couple of hundred bullets flying in all directions, a couple of direct-hit tank explosions and a whole spectacle of navy capabilities (in one of the scenes) the movie hardly does anything to intrigue its audience for the whole duration of the movie.

However if you haven’t watched a war movie in quite a while this would be the ideal one to stage a comeback with.

Rating: 6/10

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5 Comments

Filed under Movies, Rewiews

5 responses to “Flags Of Our Fathers

  1. This wasn’t an impressive film…but you SHOULD watch Letters to Iwo Jima…brilliant!

  2. Haven’t heard of that movie. Thanks for the tip though, will look it up 🙂

  3. Kevin

    ‘Ryan Phillippe who portrays the character of John ‘Doc’ Bradley fails to impress at all as he appears to constantly do one thing – stare at the camera.’

    I don’t agree with that at all. Phillippe gave a performance that was all too believable. It must be remembered that his character was not a larger than life John Wayne hero but a real life figure who survived his terrible experiences by internalizing it all. I thought RP successfully conveyed that. It’s to Phillippe’s credit as an actor that he resists the temptation to strike the big emotional chords that will have the audience in tears and garner him the award nominations. The temptation to give a big splashy performance on an Oscar-touted project like this must have been enormous but he commendably resisted the temptation.

    ‘The only actor who managed to bring forth any emotion was Adam Beach who portrayed Ira Hayes.’

    I thought the three principals all delivered affecting performances. The difference, I think, is that none of them are going out of their way to say ‘Hey, feel sorry for me!’ If that approach left you unsatisfied well fair enough but I thought it worked rather well and was entirely in tune with the theme of the film: that these flag-raisers weren’t iconic larger than life figures they were just ordinary guys. The iconic status is what the Government and the public projected onto them and with the exception of Gagnon they were uncomfortable with that.

    ‘Apart from a couple of hundred bullets flying in all directions, a couple of direct-hit tank explosions and a whole spectacle of navy capabilities (in one of the scenes) the movie hardly does anything to intrigue its audience for the whole duration of the movie.’

    I found the homefront scenes fascinating as I did the story behind the flag-raising. I also liked the way the non-linear structure of the film deliberately reflected the protagonists disorientated mental states. That the movie illustrated how truth sometimes has to be bent in the service of a greater good – Doc’s lie to Hank Hansen’s Mom about how her son was one of the flag-raisers for instance – is an example of the moral quandry the Marines found themselves in. What would you have done in a situation like that? Told her the truth and so bought the whole bond tour to a juddering halt in a blizzard of news headlines? Or lied to her and try to convince yourself that however painful it’s justified because the bonds have to be raised? In just considering that issue (as well as the quietly forceful roles occupied by the gold star mothers) Flags is already more interesting than a dozen other war movies that stick to the battlefield with their standard guns, guts and glory routines. I’m so grateful that Eastwood didn’t take the easy way out and deliver a two hour combat movie ala ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ From what you’ve just said and other comments I’ve heard it’s evident that a section of the audience wanted nothing more. That’s a shame because Eastwood has made a thoughtful, reflective movie brimming with a quiet insistent sadness at the toll war and the nations idea of ‘heroism’ took on those men both on and off the battlefield. That Flags of Our Fathers complements – not copies, but complements – Letters from Iwo Jima makes it even more essential that both movies be seen back to back in order to get the full breadth of Eastwood’s vision. These are two great movies I feel.

  4. @Kevin: Loved to read your take on things, however i must say that having watched movies like WindTalkers and a few others, i must say that Flags of our Fathers did not evict emotions as much as the other movies. It is true that the director and actors resisted the temptation of an oscar to deliver a bland spectacle. But aren’t movies all about emotional story depiction? I certainly feel that a little more depth could have been added.
    But then again i am truly thankful that it didn’t turn out into Saving Private Ryan – II. That would’ve been truly unbearable. 😉

  5. Kevin

    Thanks WG, glad you enjoyed my post. I absolutely agree with you that movie stories are about providing an emotional experience but the thing is I did find Flags emotional. Under Eastwood’s direction the film evokes a melancholy sadness for the three men and particularly so for Ira Hayes. So I don’t think the film lacks emotion. It is certainly understated (an Eastwood trademark), as witness the scene of Doc’s discovery of Iggy’s remains, and even in the hospital at the end the emotions between father and son are strong but Eastwood doesn’t encourage either actor to go over the top. Nobody bursts into tears, there’s no syrupy music, etc. Is that bad direction? Well not to me and if you want a vision of heavy handedness just imagine what a director like Steven Spielberg would have done with the same scene.

    I think where Flags stumbles is with the father/son story, in that it never quite finds a proper focus so ends up feeling underdeveloped in comparison to the bond tour scenes and the Iwo Jima combat footage. That the father/son strand is the weakest of the three stories may be a flaw but for me it’s a minor one. There is so much in Flags that works so well – and particularly when you watch it with Letters from Iwo Jima – that in the final analysis I’m not at all sure the flaws are that big a deal.

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