Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
IMDB Rating 8.0/10 141 min - Rated 15 War | Drama
Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya Director: Clint Eastwood
Near the end of World War II we see the Battle for Iwo Jima from the perspective of two Japanese soldiers; unconventional General Kuribayashi (Watanabe) and conscripted baker Saigo (Ninomiya). The task of defending the island from the invading American forces is an impossible one, and whilst Kuribayashi insists on sacrificing everything, Saigo just wants to go home to his family. When Clint Eastwood set out to tackle one of the more notorious battles of World War II he was determined to show a fair hand to both sides. As a result he made two films, with the first, Flags of Our Fathers, released just a few months before Letters from Iwo Jima and telling the story from the American perspective. Not for the first time a bit of distance between filmmaker and subject has produced an honest and incisive result with Letters from Iwo Jima the more satisfying of the two films (even though its predecessor took almost twice as much money at the US box office). In spite of the bloody battle it's a calm and thoughtful film with characters in sharp focus, their every decision and action held up for examination. The naturalistic performances of Watanabe and Ninomiya are devastating, all the more powerful for their subtlety.