Flags of Our Fathers
Like his Mystic River, Clint Eastwood has made a movie that seems like it will be absolutely fantastic but winds up being just OK. This tells the story of the soldiers who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, a scene immortalized in one of the more famous photos ever taken. It shows how politicians and the military exploited the surviving flag raisers (played by Adam Beach, Ryan Phillippe and Jesse Bradford), putting them on a tour to sell war bonds. Eastwood hits us over the head with the message of government corruption to the point where we feel like we must come up for air. He does a pretty good job recreating the infamous battle, although the washed-out color scheme definitely reminds me of Saving Private Ryan. The presence of Barry Pepper contributes to that vibe. Eastwood’s soundtrack is distracting at times, and some of the characters feel a bit cliché. Still, the performances are solid—especially Beach as Ira Hayes—and the film has some great moments. Just not enough to make it a great movie.