Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Movie Review: "Flags of our Fathers"

I think Clint Eastwood is a wonderful director. Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven, Mystic River, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil... the guy knows what he's doing. Of course, he has also directed Absolute Power, The Rookie, and Bronco Billy, so he's not exactly a sure thing. For all its hype, I think Flags of our Fathers is somewhere in the middle of those lists. It's a pretty good movie, but I think it's baffling to see it getting 2 Oscar nominations and there were even people saying it should get nominated for Best Picture (though once people saw Letters from Iwo Jima it seems a lot of folks forgot about Flags because they thought Letters was so superior).

The most interesting thing about Flags was the backstory of how the famous flag picture came to be taken. Of course, Eastwood knows this, so he trickles the story out in a series of flashbacks and flashforwards and maybe even some flashsideways, but I think this is one of the problems with the movie. There was so much flipping between the soldiers in battle and the soldiers back in the States that it made the movie feel disjointed. I don't mind a little artistic license when it comes to playing with time in movies (i.e. Memento) , but I thought Eastwood overdid it here.

The movie also seemed to be asking what it means to be a hero, which I didn't think was particularly novel or compelling. Not to mention that one of the characters in the movie was so obviously a hero by any standard that it kinda ruined the question.

Don't get me wrong, Flags is a good movie and certainly worth seeing. But I don't think it quite reaches greatness.

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