Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Letters from Iwo Jima

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Letters from Iwo Jima

Article excerpt

Directed by Clint Eastwood (Dreamworks/Warner Brothers, 2006)

War movies serve as recruitment posters when they recount heroic tales of our brave boys in combat. Or they give voice to our howling grief at war's insanity when they show the battle scars inflicted on these same courageous lads. But in Clint Eastwood's startling companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers (Dreamworks/Warner Brothers), we have a war movie that dares to cross the mine-strewn battlefield of our imagination and tell a tale of other people's sons--of the boys of our enemies.

In this story of the battle of Iwo Jima told entirely from the heroic and doomed perspective of Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) and a small band of the 20,000 Japanese soldiers holding out against an invasion force five times their size, the American actor/director who has spent over four decades exploring and expanding the language of cinematic violence has created a masterpiece of empathic compassion by making us remember the first thing we forget in war--that our enemies are human beings, and that their slaughter is horror. …

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