Flags Of Our Fathers Clint Eastwood

Flags Of Our Fathers Clint Eastwood
This is entirely indicative of how Hollywood inevitably screws up historical epics. By telling the WWII tale of Iwo Jima and the American soldiers who raised the flag there, you have all the makings of a great story: an iconic image of an improbable war victory and the perils of the propaganda campaign that followed. Private Jessica Lynch should have been hired as a consultant. Instead, the clunky narrative, complete with extraneous modern day footage of "our fathers” telling the story to inquisitive young whippersnappers, leaves us fumbling to identify characters, and every political point is hammered home without a trace of nuance or character study. Even "the ballad of Ira Hayes” — familiar to any Johnny Cash fan — is rendered here with about as much depth as a TV movie of the week. The war scenes are technically impressive in that post-Saving Private Ryan way (Spielberg is an executive producer here) but they too fall into signpost storytelling that cheapens the entire epic at work. The 100 minutes of bonus material are predictably earnest, with plenty of time devoted to fleshing out the characters we only get a glimpse of in the actual film. Most interesting is when Ryan Phillippe says, "I would have been more than glad to die for this war effort. It was so obvious what we were fighting and why we were fighting. In modern wars, from Korea to Vietnam on, it hasn't been clear what the goal is and how to achieve it.” Sadly, the same could be said of this film. Plus: old newsreels with Iwo Jima footage, interview with author James Bradley, "making of” and visual effects featurettes. (Warner)