Sunday, June 17, 2007

film: "Letters from Iwo Jima"

This is another one about soldiers engaging in a heroic/futile last stand. In this case they are Japanese soldiers on the godforsaken island of Iwo Jima facing off against the United States armed forces in 1945. After a considerable build-up the Americans finally land and then spend the rest of the film rolling over the Japanese guys. I gather this film was made as a pair with Clint Eastwood's other film about Iwo Jima, with the other one focussing on the American side of things. In this, the Japanese are the stars, and the Americans appear mostly as anonymous robotic figures in the distance, occasionally coming closer to torch the protagonists with flamethrowers. I think the film uses CGI to create the invasion fleet, and while the effect is maybe slightly unrealistic it is nevertheless very effective at making the American forces seem implacable, mechanistic, and unstoppable.

One could argue that not too far into this film you grasp the central point that war sucks and then the film goes on a bit – but real war continues long after you register how k-rub it is too.

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