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Movie Review: Flags of Our Fathers

Alternate Title: The Shot Seen Around the World

Story: A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, much more. AP photographer, Joe Rosenthal's iconic image of the flag raising at Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945, is the raw material for this film .According to director Clint Eastwood, based on the book by James Bradley and Ron Powers that image seemed to have changed the nature of the ending of WW11. The US had no more money to fund the War and no country would lend us anymore money (China was not in the money lending business at the time). This stirring image of 'victory' moved the country through a drive to sell war bonds, using the 'heroes' of that day. They raised almost 30 billion dollars, allowing us to finish the war's.

Eastwood uses a non-linear time line to present the story. He covers the action on Iwo Jima, the story of the three men who were used by the Treasury Dept. to sell the bonds and finally he jumps to the present as we see the men as senior citizens. The editing is not always seamless but the story of how these men were used was fascinating. Reminders of Jessica Lynch were ever present.

Eastwood is a fine director and even though this film is not the finest WW11 film I have seen - it is worth your time. He simultaneously made another film from the Japanese point of view which will be released this winter.

Check out some of Joe Rosenthal's photos of that day here : http://www.iwojima.com/raising/raisingb.htm and check out his life here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Rosenthal

Acting: This is definitely what would be called an ensemble cast. All of the actors, obviously encouraged to show grit, were underplayed. he cast included: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, Jamie Bell, Barry Pepper, Tom Verica, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough, Joseph Cross.

Predilection: I like films by Eastwood.

Critters: Dobermans

Food: Little time to eat in the trenches.

Soundtrack: Some original songs by Eastwood.

Opening Titles: Credits are at the end and it is definitely worth the extra ten minutes to see photos of some of the real people and places depicted in the film. Eastwood had to shoot in Iceland because it is the only other place to have black sandy beaches.

Visual Art: Eastwood washes the color out of the battle scenes so that other than the blood, it a[ears to be in black and white. The three distinct time frames are envisioned in different tones.

Theater Audience: About 20 or so other movie goers. All men, but me.

Squirm Scale: The battle scenes are very graphic and squirmy.

Drift Factor: It could have been edited a bit.

Tissue Usage: I welled up a bit.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: The big screen would be the way to go for this film. For some other good WW11 films, try renting: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalag 17, The Longest Day, The Dirty Dozen, Patton, The Guns of Navarone, Sands of Iwo Jima, A Bridge Too Far, The Great Escape, Enemy At the Gates, Saving Private Ryan, Das Boot, Battle of the Bulge, Schindler's List, To Hell and Back, Fat Man and Little Boy, The Caine Mutiny and From Here to Eternity

Length: A bit over two hours.