All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Movie Review: Flags Of Our Fathers



I booked tickets on the phone for a friend and myself.

I needn't have bothered as we were the only ones in the cinema. I don't think I've ever been privy to a private viewing before, but it was certainly an experience. What's more, if you're going to have a screen to yourself, it might as well be for a movie that reeks of quality and Flags of Our Fathers is such a film.

Watching this movie, one couldn't ignore the input of Steven Spielberg, who was joint producer. At times, this seemed like a parallel version of Saving Private Ryan, from the similarly staged beach scenes (minus the startling sound effects that made the former movie so memorable) to the deployment of washed out colours.

The cast is uniformly superb, in particular Ryan Philippe, whom I hadn't rated too highly previously. He went beyond the 'pretty boy' image and delivered an achingly believable performance as John Bradley, through whose eyes we witness the soaring highs and plunging depths of the Battle for Iwo Jima.

Clint Eastwood, who is proving himself to be one of the greatest directors, takes us into the heart of what heroism is (and isn't) about and this is never more apparent than the way in which he portrays the story of the truly tragic Ira Hayes.

Flags Of Our Fathers tells an important story and one which is as relevant today as it was back in 1945. My only gripe is that it's strongest asset (i.e. the involvement of Spielberg) is also its greatest debit, in that it lacks the impact of Spielberg's epic and as a result, the battle scenes seem as though they were shot at the same time as Mr S's movie.

Had the former not been made, this film would have delivered the knockout blow that it should - granted that we are talking about a true story (although Saving Private Ryan did accurately portray the invasion of Normandy).

Highly recommended (especially if you can get yourself a private screening)

Teacher's Rating

****½

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