Flags of Our Fathers
Directed by Clint Eastwood, this is by turns a war movie, a multifaceted memoir of World War II and an earnest and daring set of reflections on the tragic paradoxes of heroism in war. Screenwriters William Broyles Jr. and Paul Haggis haven’t managed to blend those different levels into a completely harmonious and satisfying whole, but Eastwood and company have generated a good deal of powerful dramatic emotion and a surprisingly complex array of prickly insights into the main characters’ experiences in wartime and after. The characters in this case are the soldiers involved in the famous and now-legendary photo of the six men raising the American flag atop the Japanese island of Iwo Jima early in what proved to be the final year of World War II. Only three of the six survived the fighting on Iwo Jima, and the photo was already widely celebrated by the time they were ordered back to the States to tour the country making patriotic pitches for War Bond sales.