Letters from Iwo Jima

Letters from Iwo JimaSaturday night, Terry and I watched this movie called “Letters from Iwo Jima” which portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers, filmed almost entirely in Japanese with subtitles. It a companion piece to Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers,” which depicted the same battle from the American viewpoint.

I have not yet seen “Flags of Our Fathers”, but this movie, this “Letters from Iwo Jima” was really, really awesome. I absolutly loved it. It was compelling, beautiful, sad, extremely well acted; it was a story about war, the heartbreak, the tradgedy, the complete pointlessness of it – of bravery, of love, of patriotisim – not about what side the soldiers were on. It transcending what war was being fought, because it was merely a story of people caught up in the middle of a war that was not theirs; a story of humanity, so to speak.

I particularly loved the preformance by Ken Watanabe (General Tadamichi Kuribayashi), whom I had previously enjoyed in “The Last Samurai” and “Batman Begins”. His preformance was subtle, brilliant and imbued with an artful, intelligent compassion, of integrity, of…noble civility.

Additionally, the relative newcomer, Kazunari Ninomiya (who is actually a boy-band singer in Japan – seriously). In the film he plays, Private First Class Saigo, a baker drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army; as the film starts, it is his platoon that are grudgingly digging beach trenches on Iwo Jima. He is surprisingly engaging, likable, charming – we follow along his point of view, the point of view of someone dragged out of their life to fight in a war that has very little to do with his life, and he’s expected to die for it – that it is an honor for him and his family if he dies. And he is entirely expected to die. From the very beginning, he is told that he is basically there on Iwo Jima to be cannon fodder, that his life is meaningless except to hold back the envitable tide of American barbarians. In a glance, he is – angry, shell shocked, desperate, and grief-struck. It’s like watching someone dealing with grief. But the grief is over the eminant loss of his own life that he’s staring into the face of.

The film was beautiful and sad. I highly recommend it.


~ by Nevis on February 17, 2008.

13 Responses to “Letters from Iwo Jima”

  1. Good Morning!
    Oh good, finally a good movie to get from netflix. 🙂 we rented a couple this weekend. I recommend “Away from Her”. It was very well done and a portrayal of a love story of people who are in a later time in their lives that is never really shown.
    we also saw “Eastern Promises” that was well made, but too violent for me.
    Emmitt slept in his pug cave through both of them, so he doesn’t have a review for us. 🙂

  2. I agree, it is a great movie. I have seen Flags of Our Fathers, and it is good too, but I liked Letters better also.

  3. I want to see both of those movies, everythign i have heard says letters is far better. 🙂

    So did you get a chance to watch dexter last night?? I really enjoyed, funny, dark and twisted.

  4. I saw this coming on and wanted to watch it so bad but the University of Memphis ballgame on at the same time won me over. I am definitely going to see it especially now that I hear your good review. I’m hoping they show it again.

  5. Ooh, I didn’t know they were companion pieces. And I love Ken Wanatabe. I’m glad you liked it, I’ll move it up to the top of my queue now.

  6. Hi Nevis!
    Thank you for the nice comments about my fiber art. I recommend learning crochet first. I think it is alot more fun to do and is much easier to make lots of different kinds of pieces from clothes to stuffed animals. There are lots of great teach yourself books out there. That is how i learned too. 🙂

  7. crochet is easy. 🙂 all of the stitches are really just a variation of the single crochet stitch. i think it is way easier than knitting to learn, increase stitches, decrease stitches and to see what youare doing. once you learn the stitches and the abbreviations in the patterns it is really easy. it just take a little practice.

  8. I will need to watch it

  9. I’ve actually only seen the other movie, Flags of our Fathers. I was wondering how this one was. I think My Father In Law has it so I may have to borrow it.

  10. Hi Nevis!
    I have shared a Peace Meme with you. Please stop by blog to read it. 🙂

  11. Good movie review! Makes me want to check it out too!
    Hi to Poley and Rukia from Clover!

  12. I loved the wy you wrote about this movie! I’m going to have to see it now!
    Thanks for the great review.
    Rusty’s mom

    From Rusty

  13. […] this movie was so overrated. I actually fell asleep during it. Want a  great war movie? See “Letters from Iwo Jima”. Or countless other war movies. Not this pale, hollywood-ized […]

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