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The Best of 2006: 'Flags of Our Fathers'

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Flags of Our Fathers (2006)


Yes, it's another Clint Eastwood directed film, but it's his companion to Letters from Iwo Jima. Watching both films really gives you a full perspective on how the battle affected both sides during that war. Interestingly enough, none of the Japanese actors from Letters from Iwo Jima appear in this film as where no American actors from this film appear in Letters. It proves that they are truly companion pieces and that Letters is not a sequel considering this film was released right before. And it might prove a better film going experience to watch this before Letters.

This film depicts the controversies and aggravations that occurred during the battle and a lot afterward. We follow three Americans (Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach) who were all somewhat involved in the famous raising of the American flag (that photograph that later became a large statue of soldiers trying to drive the pole into the ground to pronounce victory), but how they felt they were all victims of nepotism and overworship. In many ways, this film can be slated as one that parallels Iraq without it becoming political or self-serving to the filmmaker to make a point (what Michael Moore often does in a very exploited fashion).

Eastwood shows how the publicity surrounding this event overshadowed the many others who were killed after the flag was raised (it only symbolized the taking of Mt. Suribachi, but not the whole island) and how many other events were skewed by the media and through current racism since one of the three was Native American. In many ways, this film honestly shows that everyone, not just the ones at Iwo Jima, were all heroes. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we need to latch onto a few just to make it stick in our minds and that is one of the many messages this film contains.