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Late review… the story of storming the small but in terms of psychological warfare apparently meaningful island of Iwo Jima, told from the respective perspectives of the opposing armies. The Japanese coming in early, creating an anthill of a fortress out of this gordforsaken place, and trying to remain discpiplined within their often unhiumane leadership concepts. The Americans, coming in with slight arrogance and too many kids who have no way of assessing the peril and approaching this with care and fear as appropriate.
Hard to judge, to be honest, and at the end of the day, I need to admit a slight case of boredom, up to the point where the “Iwo Jima” part made me nod off at times, and wake up to the realisation that I could not have missed too much. A lot of people being very depressed because trapped underground for weeks, facing imminent death, but still nobody attacking, still not, still not… thing is, even when the waiting is over, the film is accurate enough not to throw everybody right into battle. The feeling of death around the next corner (or behind the next hill, more accurately) remains a permanent presence defining the atmosphere, and that atmosphere is skilfully crafted. Still, the films both lack a sense of drama and story development, and seem to me born more out of the formal idea about the two perspectives than because there was a clear story to be told that would last through 4 hours of screentime.
All in all, I found “Flags of our Fathers” to be the more lively and better structured film, be it because the caracters are more familiar, or bei it because (my guess) the script has been better designed – with Paul Haggis in charge, that is a likely possibility.

Iwo Jima at IMDB
Flags at IMDB

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