Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

logoDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Iris Yamashita (Screenplay) Tadamichi Kuribayashi, Tsuyoko Yoshido (Book)

Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Takumi Bando, Yuki Matsuzaki


Plot: The Island of Iwo Jima stands between the America military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favour the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester among his staff. In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo, a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, both Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honour, courage and horrors beyond imagination.


Verdict: Just Brilliant


Story: Looking at how a small Japanese army managed to beat impossible odds against a juggernaut of American soldiers, we get to see how they use smart tactics to increase the chances of holding on longer, even though the whole army has been told they will not make it. They do all they can to make sure that the American invasion of their homeland is delayed as long as they can. We get a really feeling for all the characters that are full of soldier who simple shouldn’t be involved in a war. This puts a real impact on how we like to support those characters as we have all seen throughout history that we have put people into war who have never been trained. We also get to see the conflict with Japanese culture of honour in battle being battled by the lead General to prolong the battle. (9/10)


Actor Reviews


Ken Watanabe: General Kuribayashi the unconventional tactical master who plots to prolong the battle and treats all his soldiers equal regardless of rank as well as introducing punishments that do not harm a soldier that they will need in battle. Great performance from Ken, showing that if you want a lead serious actor who can perform in world cinema he is the man. (10/10)


Kazunari Ninomiya: Saigo the simple baker who is recruited to war, he sums up every man in battle who doesn’t want to be there but has no option but to fight for his country. Great performance from him, showing all the emotional levels needed for a desperate soldier just wanting to get home to his family. (9/10)


Tsuyoshi Ihara: Baron Nishi the famous Olympian who leads a unit into battle but has a much more human side in battle. Good performance showing real emotional depth throughout. (9/10)


Ryo Kase: Shimizu upon arrival he is a man of mystery who soon shows he is just as scared as the rest, even though he came from a specially trained group of soldiers. Ryo shows how some people just can’t handle the war perfectly. (9/10)


Director Review: Clint Eastwood – Brilliant from Eastwood showing he really can direct delicate subjects. (9/10)


Drama: The drama of the soldiers battling everything not just the enemy while struggling with just basic surviving. (9/10)

History: Beautifully told historical tale of the battle. (10/10)

War: Shows the horror of war wonderfully with clash of culture. (10/10)

Settings: The settings are beautifully used to recreate the battle. (10/10)

Suggestion: This is one to be watching, it is a great look at war from a different culture that most people will be used too. (Watch)


Best Part: The simple flashbacks to the soldier’s normal life moments.

Worst Part: The suicide scene is hard to watch.

Believability: Based on the letters found. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: You do start to feel for the characters by the end of the film. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Won an Oscar and nominated for another 3.

Box Office: $68,673,228

Budget: $19 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

Tagline: From the director of ‘Flags of our Fathers’ comes the completion of the Iwo Jima saga.


Overall: An Unsung Masterpiece

Rating 93

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