Today I had the day off and I finally had the chance to catch up on a subtitled flick I'd been meaning to re-watch for quite a while, Letters from Iwo Jima (2006).
There are a lot of reasons to take stands against Clint Eastwood and his movies, mostly based around his political views. For his middle of the road movies that's excuse enough for me to skip out on movies like Trouble With the Curve but he has also been a highly celebrated director for his artistic abilities. Generally, those artistic movies, while expertly made, tend to touch of depressing or dark themes or tones that are a bit too overbearing and washed out for my palate.
This movie came out around the same time as Flags of our Fathers, also directed by Clint Eastwood, that follows the lives of the men who raised the flag over Iwo Jima and the struggles they had being seen as heroes for what they considered to be just a photo op. That movie kind of drags and barely touches on the battle of Iwo Jima unlike Letters from Iwo Jima that tells the story of the battle from the Japanese point of view.
I really love this movie. It has such a gentle touch and brilliant understanding of adverse parties in a war and one side that knows they are going to lose before the battle starts but engages in the battle anyways. It's a beautiful movie with beautiful characters and I place it in a big list of World War II movies and miniseries episodes (in historical order) that all have been produced in the last 20 years or so.
I will also add Enemy at the Gates to this list to involve the battle of Stalingrad. It's interesting to try to have different perspectives from the different actors in the war and I definitely don't think this list is comprehensive because it doesn't have a Chinese perspective or a German perspective, although Downfall, the story of Hitler in the bunker that was memed a few years back would be a great addition. I also have dreams of a series or miniseries about the atomic bombs that also includes perspectives of Japanese military leaders, the Emperor, Japanese civilians, as well as Allied leaders and those working on the Manhattan project.
I'm not sure what it is about World War II movies that I find so engaging and I actually find World War I to be more interesting but it doesn't get the cinematic treatment that WWII has gotten recently. Oh yeah, I am aware Saving Private Ryan is purely fictional, but it tells such a vibrant story of D-Day that it would be malpractice to omit.