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Chris High reviews Letters from Iwo Jima on


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Clin Eastowood produced movie review.


Kazunari Ninmiya, Ken Watanabi, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase
Shidou Nakamura
Director / Producer / Composer: Clint Eastwood
Screenwriter: Iris Yamashita
Executive Producer: Paul Haggis
A Malpaso /Amblin Entertainment Presentation

February 23rd, 2007

Promotional image for 'Letter From Iwo Jima'


History, they say, is written by winners. With Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood has changed history.


Sixty-one years ago, US and Japanese armies met on Iwo Jima. Decades later, several hundred letters are unearthed from the island’s stark soil. Letters that give faces and voices to the men who fought there as well as to the extraordinary general who led them. Eastwood's companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers, which portrayed the American soldiers who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, is a humanist WWII drama told from the Japanese perspective. For Japan, the battle was the final opportunity to prevent an Allied invasion. Lt. General Kuribayashi devises an unusual strategy of digging tunnels and deep foxholes that would give his troops a tactical advantage. Their story is told through the letters they write home, which in many cases would not be delivered until long after they were dead.

The Japanese soldiers are sent to Iwo Jima know that, in all probability, they will not come back. Letters From Iwo Jima is their story and is, quite simply, a stunning piece of movie making that allows the thoughts and actions of those Japanese who took part in one of the bloodiest battles of World War Two to flow across every scene. The fact that these were ordinary men sent to do a job is so well illustrated, it goes further than merely underlining the folly of war, but rather empowers the insanity of it. These were not men driven by the common good or for the love of their Emperor or any idealistic principal. These were men defending their homeland because their families were at home, just as members of the allied forces were also defending.

The cinematography is sublime and the acting – especially from Ninomiya as Saigo, the young recruit desperate to see the face of his newborn child, and Watanabe as the visionary Lieutenant General Kuribayashi – is exemplary and the roles bring home the hardships of their mission as clearly as anything said in Schindler’s List or other films of this ilk. Indeed, it is easy to see how this movie has been nominated for Oscars in this year’s awards (Best Picture / Best Director).

A moving experience from first scene to last, Letters From Iwo Jima is a must-see picture for anybody who is interested in the reality of war that, sadly, never changes.

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