Well, if there is one thing that is certain, it is that Clint Eastwood can direct. That is for sure. The landing on Iwa Jima was the best filmed battle scene since Spielberg's landing on D-Day. Flags of Our Fathers was not the movie that I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be the defining WWII film of this decade. I did have my reservations based on the casting. But, with Clint, I expected more. The story itself was not that bad. It was a story that I didn't know. I didn't know what to expect. I liked that.
It opens with an old man, in present time, waking up in the middle of the night looking for someone. It reminded me a lot of the opening of Saving Private Ryan. We then move into the past, the war. We see the guys getting ready to go land on Iwa Jima. The supporting cast was huge and impressive. The movie moves through the story of the battle of Iwa Jima and the three guys who raised the second flag on the hill. It tells of three "heroes" played by Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, and Ryan Phillippe. These three go on a Buy Bonds tour of America. They talk of the war, and that with the support of the nation, they will win the war. Adam Beach, Ira Hayes, is called from the front lines to join the tour unwillingly. He becomes an alcoholic to supress his pain from the war. Rene Gagnon, Bradford, loves the spotlight and encourages it. Lastly, John "Doc" Bradley, Phillippe, is the moral compass for the group. He takes it all in stride.
Throughout the movie, we see more of the battle and more of the tour. There is a wonderful balance. The story was extraordinary. The acting was par. The directing, well, I said it before, it was great. I also said the the movie was not what I wanted it to be. This is why. At the very end of the movie, we go back to the present to where the son of Doc is writing a memoir type book based on his father's life. his father is the one looking for someone in the beginning of the film. It became a Hollywood story. The father passes, the son is there to say good-bye, blah, blah, blah. I did not like the end of movie. I thought that it took away from the story itself.
Verdict: I was late to see this, so I recommend the rental of this film. It is a good film, but not what I was wanting it to be. It was one of the best movies I have seen this year though.