Flags of our Fathers (2006)

A bit of a different film today. A Clint Eastwood directed film about the lives of the men depicted in the famous photograph of the soldiers raising the American flag during the battle of Iwo Jima.

I must confess, I had often heard of this film and never really considered watching it until recently. Also, my knowledge of the American involvement in World War II is sadly very limited. If anything, this film has encouraged me to read books about it.

While I could not connect to individual characters, the film definitely deals with issues of perceived heroism and the eternal question of ‘what makes a hero?’. The political ideologies of the film were clear to see and well written, as the politicians clearly wanted to use the soldier’s image and status for their own ends.

While the film is not faultless, it is certainly enthralling. It does not judge. It just presents the characters actions for the audience to judge for themselves. It also shows what happened to the veterans after the battle and they return home to supposed victory.

This genre of film is not my sort of film but I have immense respect for Clint Eastwood as an actor and a director. This film has encouraged me to read more books about Iwo Jima and has certainly made me rethink the way in which veterans and war heroes are perceived. The film had that rare ability to be both funny and serious at the same time, without overcompensating for either element.

MY RATING: **** / *****

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