Saturday 21st November 2009

Letters from Iwo Jima

Director: Clint Eastwood
Year: 2006
Stars: Ken Wantanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara

In order not to totally forget the contents of Flags of our Fathers before watching this, I made a concerted effort to watch it fairly soon after seeing that movie. And I'm glad I did. An excellent movie in its own right, being able to relate it back to Flags of our Fathers made it all the more enjoyable.

This time around, we get to see the battle on Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers. Eastwood does an excellent job of portraying the Japanese battle mentality, without any of the standard American judging you may expect. It tries to tell the story as "straight" as possible, accepting the events as a part of a history.

One of the most enjoyable things about this movie, for me, was the way each film sticks with firmly telling the story of the relevant side. To the Americans, the Japanese soldiers were faceless, just as they really would have been. Similarly, the Americans are faceless to the Japanese, apart from when one soldier is brought into the caves. Scenes shown in Flags of our Fathers are filmed from the opposite side here, so you get the Japanese viewpoint.

Another excellent film, the film would work well even if you hadn't seen Flags of our Fathers. But it's a great companion piece to that film, and scores 5 because they work so well together. Had I watched them in the other order, the scores may well have been reversed (5 for Flags of our Fathers, 4 for Letters from Iwo Jima).

Rating: 5 out of 5

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About Me

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.