Flags of Our Fathers

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre War
Year 2006
Duration 132 min
Rating 7.2 out of 10
Description: "A Single Shot Can End The War"

The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in WWII.
Comments: Before starting my review, let me just explain how Clint Eastwood is and will always be one of the greatest icons in cinema. He is cool. He is so cool to the point of directing a mega-production after a small, intimate film. He is so cool that he beats John Wayne in the ''Western Idol'' competition. That said, let's go on to his mega-production I've mentioned, a WWII drama named ''Flags of our Fathers''.

After proving he can be, besides a spectacular actor, an spectacular director (with Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and his masterpiece, The Unforgiven, all of which in the Top 250), Clint leads us back in time and teaches us some history about Iwo Jima. After a gruesome and heroic battle, six men lift up a flag and a picture is taken. That picture becomes a treasure, and the war heroes returning to their homes, the same men that carried that flag, become myths.

The story is mainly about three characters: the honest and sensitive John ''Doc'' Bradley (Ryan Phillipe), who believes taking full credit for the battle because of one picture is wrong, the brave soldier Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), who is willing to prove he is a hero, even though he tries not to get in a real battle, and the naive, but strong Ira Hayes (Adam Beach, in a role that may probably gather him a Supporting Actor nod). The whole film is entirely narrated by John Bradley (at this time, in old age, played by Len Cariou). As the film tells us, these are the only ones in the picture that manage to come out of war alive.

The film revolves around this picture, and also about how these three men live after the war. Ira is target of racism, Bradley is haunted by memories of war and his friends who past away (in special Iggy, played by Jamie Bell, whom Bradley was fond of before his death), and Gagnon celebrates all the media attention.

The film, however, is greatly flawed. And that hurts a lot for me to say this, considering the appreciation I have for Eastwood. He turns a movie worthy of a gargantuan epic drama into an opportunistic drama, with situations entirely designed to make audiences cry. In the battle scenes, Eastwood is a lion: perfectly orchestrated, they're the high point of this (overlong) picture. However, in the drama, Clint loses his heels. It gets kind of sad, seeing all these clichéd moments.

Eastwood still proves to be a great director for actors. He takes out great performances of the cast, with three in particular. Adam Beach, perfect as Ira Hayes. Barry Pepper, magnificent as another flag-raiser, Michael Strank, which was a leader for his men. And Robert Patrick, as the Colonel Chandler. There are still thousands of roles in the movie, and they all deserve some praise.

In conclusion, Eastwood seems to run head over heels in this war picture. However, it is almost undeniable the potential this movie has for the Oscars. It is technically perfect, no doubt about it. It is beautifully directed, of course. But it is melodramatic, and it is the same war story you've seen a thousand times told again. The only difference is the power of the story teller.---6/10

P.S: This movie is probable to gain an Oscar nod for Best Picture. But, as the review lends to show, it is not my favorite. Starting from today, my cheering goes to the magnificent, gripping, A+ gangster drama, ''The Departed''. Scorcese X Eastwood, once again.