What’s Ernest Hemingway’s contribution to American literature; Clint Eastwood is to American cinema. There’s lot of similarity between these two artistic giants personality as well as their works. Most prominent is their archetypal characterization and story telling. In both works we see a face of mythical American hero- a brave man with guts & belief of his own, man who follows the set of rules of his own and ultimately a disillusioned hero who’s physically lost but not defeated in terms of his spirit. Though this film isn’t one of the best directed by Eastwood, it’s one of the fine one in deglamorizing the war.
Based on true facts, the film is an epic war story of US marine soldiers who fought bravely the bloody battle of Iwo Jima, more than a turning point of Second World War. US won the war at the cost of 70000 soldiers’ lives. Unlike usual glorifying war films, Eastwood deglorified the myth of war heroes and taps the emotional current of this war tale where the single most emotional truth of warfare is that soldiers may fight for their country but sacrificed their lives for their friends. The film also touched the sensitive topic of how the brave heroes were treated at home once war is over in certain contexts of racial discrimination of struggling Indians who showed their mettle in war. There are so many striking satiric scenes in the film where courage of soldiers was acknowledged with glamorized public farce either by dimwit officers or crap commercialism.
Eastwood films are always topnotch in technical departments. Wonderful screenplay is co-scripted by Paul Haggis where narration is constantly shifting between the war actions & its aftermath, setting and production design are apt to the period & once again brilliant camerawork by Tom Stern.
Initial action sequence where landing at beach US soldiers were massacred with bullets coming from all directions is something absolutely inspired by the brilliant initial sequence of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and why not when Spielberg is the producer. Most of the assemble cast is young and refreshing devoid of any major actor except Barry Piper but its Adam Beach as disillusioned Indian soldier Ira Hayes gave one of the quite moving and restrained performance.
Recommended to all war film lovers.