Flags of Our Fathers
Movie Stats & Links
Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford
||Too much for the
youngin's but I say you could probably bring the 14 and
||It's good for the
||Lots of it.
||Lots of it.
||There's a chuckle
||It was pretty
funny when they were asking, I think it was Iggy but I could
be wrong, if he got his masturbation papers in order.
||"People will shit
Robert Lorenz, Steven Spielberg
I had no idea there were two flag-raisings at Iwo Jima,
and my guess is that you didnít realize it either. But for
most of us we have all seen the picture, or the picture of
the statue of that flag-raising, embedded into the minds of
many Americans. The other part of the story we donít know is
how the government used those who raised the second flag as
fund-raiserís for the war effort. "Flags of Our Fathers"
tries to tell that story, and itís not an easy story to
Flags of Our Fathers
A Movie Review
Letís start with a quick whoís who of the flag raising.
The six men who raised that second flag consist of Navy
corpsman John Bradley (Ryan Phillipe), and five Marines: Ira
Hayes (Adam Beach), Michael Strank (Barry Pepper), Franklin
Sousley (Joseph Cross), Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), and
Harlon Block (Ben Walker). But part of the controversy comes
in the fact that originally Harlon Block was left out of
being a "hero," because he was mis-identified as Hank Hanson
(Paul Walker), who actually took part in the first
Anyway, the movie consists of a few excerpts from the
last days of Navy corpsman John Bradley (Ryan Phillipe), but
mostly gives us scenes of preparation for battle at Iwo Jima
(where we get introduced to most of the characters), the
battle at Iwo Jima (where most of them die), and the travels
of the three flag-raising survivors, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon,
and John Bradley, who were brought back to the states to be
used for the war bond propaganda machine.
During the preparation for battle we quickly learn of the
camaraderie of the men at the time, how there is still some
internal strife as some donít always respect the others, and
how, no matter the differences or questioning the otherís
ability, once the battle starts, itís all about working to
help everyone survive.
Then there are the battle scenes, and I think a nod needs
to be given to Seven Spielberg for giving us "Saving Private
Ryan" and not holding back on the gruesomeness of battle,
because Clint Eastwood does the same. Realism of battle is
the name of the game, and we see it all again, from
blown-off limbs, to blasted chests, to gunshots to the neck,
to decapitation. Some people might say itís over-the-top,
but for all of us who have never been there, maybe a little
reality of what any person in the military has to go through
in any battle is a good thing to remember.
But a lot of "Flag of Our Fathers" is really about the
struggles the three remaining flag-raisers, Ira, Rene, and
John, have to deal with when they return to the states, and
are used to raise money for the war. For the tour we see how
the government will use anything they can to make war look
better than it is, and nothing was better at that time then
the photo of that Iwo Jima flag-raising. We sort of see Rene
taking it all in, realizing the celebrity he has become, and
always there to say the right thing. We see John as not
really wanting to be there, but doing his best to put on a
good face. And we see Ira Hayes, who has the hardest time of
all of them coming to grips with the things he has seen on
the battlefield, and the job he has now been given,
especially knowing that Harlon Block is not getting the
credit he deserves for being a part of the flag-raising,
that Harlonís family isnít getting the closure of having
Harlon in the picture, and Ira turns to alcohol to try to
stop the nightmares.
And finally, towards the end of the movie, we get told
the stories of how Ira, Rene, and John lived the rest of
their days, and how as much as the government tried to
portray them as heroes because they raised a flag, they
always knew that they werenít heroes, in the end they just
raised a flag.
The trick with watching this movie is to go into it
realizing that you will not get a straightforward time-line
of how things happened, so be ready for it. You will be
transported from John as an older man, you will be
transported to battle scenes, you will be transported to
when the boys were on the bond-raising tour, you will then
be transported back to battle scenes, etc.
Clint Eastwood, I think, does the best he can at telling
the story of the three men who didnít die at Iwo Jima who
raised the second flag, and how they get used to raise money
for the war. But this movie wouldnít work if the three main
characters, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and John Bradley weren't
played perfectly, and Bradford as Rene does well as the
person absorbing the spotlight, but the stars of this movie
were really Adam Beach as Ira, showing a man totaling
struggling to come to grips to the things he has been
through, and in a much tougher role, Ryan Phillipe as John,
doing his best to just be there, deal with it, and get on
with his life.
"Flags of Our Fathers" wasnít as good as "Saving Private
Ryan," but it was damn close, and since I gave "Ö Ryan" 6
stars out of 5, Iím giving "Flags of Our Fathers" 5 stars
out of 5. I will admit it gets tricky, at times, following
the flash-backs, flash-presents, and flash-to-whenever, but
in the end it all works.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!!