Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura
Whilst Flags of Our Fathers portrayed the American story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, Letters from Iwo Jima narrates the Japanese story of the same war. Both movies were made by the exact same crew and shot one after the other. While Flags of Our Fathers focuses on the famous photograph and the life of three American soldiers after the war, this movie narrates only the Japanese perception of the events that took place during the war. The movie revolves around the fictional character of Pvt. First Class Saigo (Ninomiya) a newly married baker who was conscripted to join the army. The character of Saigo is the only survivor and is depicted as experiencing all the highs and lows of the war. The insightful general of the Japanese Army on Iwo Jima, General Kuribayashi (Watanabe) faced a tough decision when he learnt that his platoon would not be receiving any backup from the mainland and yet they are to defend the island with every last soldier to prevent the Americans from making it a base. The movie revolves around the cold hardships of war, suicides and bloodshed. The movie is a critics delight with fine performances and picture perfect scenes, however, its not a movie the average audience might appreciate due to its slow and heavy nature. The movie shows the raw approach to war and is widely different from its elder sibling. Another excellent movie from the stable of Clint Eastwood.
Thumbs up: Beautiful performances, great execution
Thumbs down: Slow and heavy