Saturday, October 22, 2016

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

IMDb plot summary: The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.
Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, and RyƓ Kase.

(Spoilers ahead.)

This falls in that category of movies I respect and admire without feeling much connection to. Part of that is because, like in many war movies where everyone's wearing the same thing, I am so bad with faces that I could not keep the different characters and their stories straight. Lots of individual moments I appreciated, but because I couldn't identify individual characters very well, I couldn't follow their narrative arcs through to the end. That's a flaw on my end, obviously, not the movie's, but it does help to explain the emotional disconnect as a whole.

What I thought the movie did do very well was convey the sense of the Japanese soldiers' expectations of honor and loyalty and how that matched or didn't match with what they encountered. The scene that affected me in the most was where the soldiers are ordered to retreat but choose to commit suicide instead, and as soldier after soldier puts gun to their head or grenade to their stomach and ends their life, you see the internal struggle of the one who ultimately does make it out from that scene alive.

I wish I could say I liked this movie more, but I do think it's a good one, and very well-made.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Letters from Iwo Jima > Everyone Says I Love You
Letters from Iwo Jima < A Clockwork Orange
Letters from Iwo Jima < The Pursuit of Happyness
Letters from Iwo Jima > The Dark Knight
Letters from Iwo Jima < October Sky
Letters from Iwo Jima > National Lampoon's Vacation
Letters from Iwo Jima > The Switch
Letters from Iwo Jima < Bee Movie
Letters from Iwo Jima < The Matador
Letters from Iwo Jima > Splash
Letters from Iwo Jima < Now You See Me

Final spot: #1041 out of 2523.

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