Ben and I watched Flags of Our Fathers on my birthday. I thought it was an excellent movie directed by Clint Eastwood.
The movie told the tail of the men who raised the iconic flag on Iwo Jima. It is based on a novel by James Bradley who was telling the tale of his father John "Doc" Bradley who was a navy medic and one of the men who raised the flag.
It was a complex movie. It told the tale of the invasion of Iwo Jima under brutal conditions. The island had been bombed to heck "without as much as a blade of grass" remaining on the surface. The Japanese had built a complex system of underground fortifications and were not going to live easily. The American soilders were delivered to the beach and had to fight there way foot by foot through the island. I can't imagine having to live through such horrifying conditions.
The flag raising was almost anti-climatic, especially when you learn that the iconic picture was taken of the "replacement flag" that went up so a politician could have the real flag. No one was really paying attention when this flag went up. The picture becomes a war-time symbol of hope to the American people and the three surviving flag raisers (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) are shipped home to lead much needed war time bond drives. The men are conflicted about their role on Iwo Jima and how they aren't really heroes, just heroes constructed by the media. I was especially rivated by Ira Hayes tale and disturbed by the racist treatment he received as a Native American.
I was a bit confused through the movie though trying to keep up with who all of the different characters were that they were talking about. It would have been nice to give a bit more background on the flag raisers.
Overall it was an excellent film though and I can't wait to see Letters from Iwo Jima when it comes out on DVD!