Writer: William Broyles Jr., Paul Haggis (Screenplay) James Bradley, Ron Powers (Book)
Starring: Ryan Philippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper, Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough, Melanie Lynskey, Thomas McCarthy
Plot: In 1945, the Marines attack twelve thousand Japanese protecting the twenty square kilometres of the sacred Iwo Jima Island in a very violent battle. When they reach the Mount Suribachi and six soldiers raise their flag on top, the picture becomes a symbol in a post Great Depression America. The government brings the three survivors to America to raise funds for war, bring hope to desolate people, and making the three men heroes of the war. However, the traumatized trio have difficulty dealing with the image built by their superiors, sharing the heroism with their mates.
Verdict: Touching drama
Story: With this based on accounts of the men involved we have to give this credit for it not needing to be made up, but I feel it is hard to keep up with both the war scenes and what is happening post war as well as who is telling what story. It feels like each part of the story is told well but not given the full credit it really deserves. Much like most of Eastwood’s films it never tests you rather just lets the story unfold on front of you at a steady pace making sure you take everything in. (8/10)
Ryan Philippe: John ‘Doc’ Bradley the younger version of the guy telling the story, he is famed for being involved in the flag raising but only part of the second one, he has to travel around with the other two survivors and help raise money for the war effort. Good performance from Ryan who shows he can lead a film that isn’t just commercial. (8/10)
Jesse Bradford: Rene the most camera media friendly of the three survivors but relies on his fame to carry his life, but unfortunately doesn’t once the war is over. Good performance from the Jesse putting himself on the map in Hollywood. (7/10)
Adam Beach: Ira the troubled reluctant hero of the event, who suffers greatly with alcohol problems while on tour, just trying to cope with the horrors of what he has gone through. Great performance from Adam who really steps up and steals the show. (9/10)
Barry Pepper: Mike the squadron leader who takes his men into battle, even though he has been promised a safer promotion, he is involved in the flag raising but failed to make it home. Good from Pepper who continues to make a brilliant support cast member. (8/10)
Jamie Bell: Iggy the youngest and most innocent of the unit who becomes Doc’s buddy in war, involved in the original flag rising, but suffers a horrific death. Good performance from Bell taking some early steps in Hollywood with a top director. (7/10)
Paul Walker: Hank is one of the original flag raisers who dies during an ambush. Good supporting performance from Walker. (7/10)
Director Review: Clint Eastwood – Confident gentle paced film, the trademark from the director who always gives us quality. (8/10)
Drama: Showing the aftermath of the war on the characters really shows how different people did react to everything that happened. (9/10)
History: Good look at the historical event that created one of the most iconic moments in American history. (8/10)
War: The war scenes are well constructed, but a lot of the horrors are off camera. (7/10)
Settings: Good use of settings for the war scenes, but the post war scenes are very genetic. (8/10)
Special Effects: Great special effects used for the war scenes. (9/10)
Suggestion: I would suggest trying this, if you want to see a bit of history then you will enjoy but the more casual Saving Private Ryan fans may find this very slow. (Try it)
Best Part: Ira meets a parent of a lost soldier and just hugs her and cries at a big event.
Worst Part: Very slow
Action Scene Of The Film: The scene where we see what happens to the other soldiers.
Believability: Based on real events. (9/10)
Chances of Tears: Maybe a couple but not sure. (2/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: Real photos used from the war to go with the credits.
Similar Too: Stop Loss
Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars
Box Office: $65,900,249
Budget: $53 Million
Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes
Tagline: All it takes to win is the right picture.
Overall: Great look at an iconic moment in history
Ooops, chances not changes.
“Changes of a sequel: NO” But there was a sequel which was much more critically acclaimed…even though I am personally a big fan of this film. The sequel was “Letters from Iwo Jima” The same battle told from the perspective of the Japanese.
Letter From iwo Jima is tomorrow post, part of the Clint Eastwood weekend