The island of Iwo Jima stands between the American military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. Read the Empire review of Letters From Iwo Jima. Find out everything you need to know about the film from the world's biggest movie destination.
His acclaimed film Flags of Our Fathers followed the stories of the American soldiers who raised the flag in one of World War II's most enduring images. His new movie, Letters from Iwo Jima, explores the perspective of the Japanese soldiers who fought it. The actor once best-known as a western and action star has directed a number of great films, including Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby.
The island of Iwo Jima stands between the American military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favor the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester among his staff.
In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo, a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, both Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honor, courage, and horrors beyond imagination.
Because my late father fought on Iwo Jima, I have always been a student of the battle. I've studied the character and tactics of General Kuribayashi since elementary school and Eastwood's film and Ken Wanatabe's portrayal have embodied every notion I ever had of the general. I loved 'Flags of Our Fathers' and plan to own it when it becomes available, but 'Letters' is a better film. In spite of the English subtitles, 'Letters' flows on screen more evenly than 'Flags' and exhibits an equal dose of individual human emotions. The plight of the individual soldier in war is universal regardless of the evil or good his leaders exhibit.
While some soldiers are unusually cruel, most just want to go home in one piece. This film teaches that beautifully.