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An anti-bushido movie, and an honest tribute to the Japanese who suffered under it., January 29, 2007

Letters from Iwo Jima (Blu-ray / 2006) Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kazunari Ninomiya, Ken Watanabe Movie Titles: Letters from Iwo Jima Synopsis: Nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima tells the untold story of the Japanese soldiers who defended their homeland against invading American forces during World War II
This is a great movie, and a truly original one, although not for the reasons that have been previously offered up by movie critics and fans.First off, although this movie does portray the Japanese side of the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, it does not glorify their role in this movie, nor does it ignore the lessons of history served up by this battle. For the few critics of this movie who say that the Japanese soldiers got what they deserved, that the Japanese started WWII, and that this movie only brings in undeserved sympathy for those soldiers, I say, as an American and a reader of military history, perhaps, but look deeper into what this movie is REALLY saying.Although American film critics have almost universally hailed this movie as an anti-war movie, this movie is in reality only an anti-bushido movie. The movie has been extremely popular in Japan, and I cannot but help think that its underlying messages serve only to work against the cause of the...

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This is a great movie, and a truly original one, although not for the reasons that have been previously offered up by movie critics and fans.First off, although this movie does portray the Japanese side of the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, it does not glorify their role in this movie, nor does it ignore the lessons of history served up by this battle. For the few critics of this movie who say that the Japanese soldiers got what they deserved, that the Japanese started WWII, and that this movie only brings in undeserved sympathy for those soldiers, I say, as an American and a reader of military history, perhaps, but look deeper into what this movie is REALLY saying.Although American film critics have almost universally hailed this movie as an anti-war movie, this movie is in reality only an anti-bushido movie. The movie has been extremely popular in Japan, and I cannot but help think that its underlying messages serve only to work against the cause of the...
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And you would have had a decent picture of the Japanese side of Iwo Jima. But, a thoroughly unneccesary section of the film where first a captured Marine is treated humanely by Baron Nishi, and then shortly thereafter, surrendered Japanese prisoners are executed by another Marine, sits in politically correct smugness smack in the middle of an otherwise decent film. It may make the "anti-war" message, but it rang false, and at that point the film faltered. True, earlier a Marine captive was shown beaten and bayoneted, but this was juxtaposed with another Japanese being burned to death, as if the Marine captive was being punished for that death. The reality of these battles was something else.The historian William Manchester was a young Marine in the Pacific and in his book Goodbye Darkness, about his experiences, said that there was a tacit understanding between the Marines and Japanese in the island campaigns: neither side took many prisoners. At least while the...
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Being a big Clint Eastwood fan, I attended "Flags of our Fathers" earlier this year expecting a monumental experience. Nothing could have surprised me more, however, with how disconnected I felt from that picture. It was a fascinating story and a nice tribute, but its awkward narrative framing and (more importantly) lack of genuine character development disappointed me. All I felt left with was a heavy-handed message with no real dramatic weight. I still looked forward to "Letters From Iwo Jima," however, intrigued by Eastwood's ambitions of portraying a Japanese perspective centered on the same event. Such a bold move makes me respect Eastwood even more. The film was rushed into release for the 2006 awards season when "Flags" failed to become a critical front-runner, and that decision seems to have paid off for the studio. Recognized by several major critic's groups, "Letters" also stands as a Best Picture candidate at the Academy awards.Ironically, the aspect that...
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