Letters From Iwo Jima
Does anyone else have what I have with Clint Eastwood's films? I never rush to see them and then I watch with moderate expectations but invariably come out loving them. I really should learn by now. 'Letters From Iwo Jima' is up there with his very best, and is a great, great film. I thought the Best Picture category was fairly weak this year but it is a travisty that this didn't win. I guess they owed Scorsese one.
Seeing the battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective is a clever idea and Eastwood explores this deftly. When the 'isn't war pointless' buttons are pushed it is done so in a refreshingly level headed and clear eyed view. The storytelling is always objective and the situations and characters rounded and three-dimensional.
The film is littered with great performances; Ken Watanabe's sympathetic General Kuribayashi, who retains his dignity despite the heavily stacked odds and the hopeless situation. To counterpoint the his perspective, we also follow the story of Saigo (played by Kazunari Ninomiya), a reluctant conscript who is no ones idea of the a war hero, least of all his own.
I used to think of Eastwood as an actor who directed pretty good films but make no mistake, he is a great director that can sit easily alongside the very best.