Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

Probably the best movie that Eastwood has directed, second is Unforgiven.

As tens of thousands of Allied troops push further inland, the Japanese troops defending Iwo Jima during World War II prepare to meet their fate in this Clint Eastwood-directed Oscar nominee, a companion piece to his hit film Flags of Our Fathers. Ken Watanabe stars as a Japanese general who knows his men are outnumbered and, with no hope of rescue, that most will eventually die in battle — or end up killing themselves.

Clint Eastwood is always known as the snarling, killing, bad-ass that we all know and love him for. And in some of his films we see him direct his heart out onto the screen. But almost every one is good, but just not terrific. Then came this film, and, God, does he put it all out there.

I loved this film from start to finish, almost every thing here satisfies me because it did many things, that I have never really seen in other war films. These soldiers were literally trapped and had no way out of these caves, and their only will to survive was through death itself, and we feel that coming out of this story. It all feels claustrophobic, and scary, just like all these soldiers felt at the time this war was going on.

Eastwood directs this in such a easy and restrained way that we understand these people. The film is neither pro-America or pro-Japan, but more of like pro-humanity. The violence is straight in our face and although it is there, we focus more on these soldiers and their customs. Eastwood doesn’t just show us a look at these soldiers trying to survive, but how much they have respect for their orders, and will die for it.

There is no little hidden message about how we shouldn’t have gotten ourselves into this war or anything like that but it’s a straight-up war story, that’s not so much about the battle they fight, but for more about their guidelines which you really have to respect Eastwood for, cause in ways this could have gone terribly wrong.

I had one problem with this film and it was that I had a feeling one thing about this film wasn’t totally developed yet, but still it is a minor complaint to a great movie.

Ken Watanabe gives off the best performance in his career here as the Japanese general, who has so much honor, so much pride, yet so much humanity in his soul that even though he is close to dieing himself, he doesn’t know what he is dieing for, and is always still the same brave person throughout which I loved. The rest of the cast doe great jobs adding in their own great skills of acting, and making their characters more human-like.

Consensus: Humanity and emotional is how Letters From Iwo Jima plays out, with a brilliant direction from Eastwood, and wonderful performances from the cast, you can not miss out on this great treasure.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!


  1. Totally agree. Loved it too and Ken Watanabe made the film. And you’re right about it being unbiased, it was very pro-humanity, wish there were more films like it.

  2. I’d say this one’s a tie for best Eastwood film for me (as I can’t demote “Unforgiven”). And as much as I liked “The Departed,” I have to agree with Aiden R.: on repeat viewings I’ve noticed a lot of sloppy editing cuts/errors in Scorsese’s movie and the variability of the Boston accents (Nicholson’s comes and goes at will) is annoying. Eastwood was robbed!

  3. Yeah I also enjoyed this a lot more than Departed.

    Have you seen the companion film, Flags of Our Fathers? I thought that one paled in comparison to Letters from Iwo Jima.

  4. While “Letters from Iwo Jima” is truly a great achievement is several ways, the script is powerful, the production is superb, all the technical departments almost perfected their jobs, there is some really good acting as well, and Eastwood’s touch as a director is very visible, and its beautiful, it flaws almost flawlessly in this regard.

    Well, what’s wrong then? It simply lacks what makes it a really interesting movie. “Letters” starts with a present day scene of excavators digging up remains of the war in Iwo Jima, and finding letters in a cave that were written by Japanese soldiers and officers during the war on Iwo Jima island, it then travels back in time to WWII and story revolves around those whom their letters were found during the dawn of the American invasion on that island. Slowly, the movie loses its grip over its audience, becoming something closer to an audio book, and survival becomes a repetitive process!!!

    Everyone seem to be praising the film for being told from the other side, and its true you don’t see that many American film makers do that, and although the film didn’t just speak Japanese, it lived and breathed Japanese, it couldn’t escape the limited framework of Hollywood, this is very visible through the “good” characters, all the good, honest or lovable Japanese characters were either American sympathizers who lived in the US for a while and kept saying how a great nation the US is, or are Japanese people that do not care for the Imperial system and would not mind handing over the island to their rival Americans. On the other hand, all Japanese loyalists were mean American haters. Even the resolution of the strict Imperial soldiers was that the Americans were not as evil as they were told. But still, everyone was very fond of the fact that the movie was told completely from a Japanese point of view. However, just because Eastwood is an American film maker making a Japanese-point-of-view movie, doesn’t make the film any better than what it really is, the film’s ratings seem to be getting higher just because there is an American film maker behind it and I disagree, it is what it is regardless who the people behind it were.

    The film was also highly praised as a companion film to “Flags”, and while together they form a great duo, on its own, “Letters” does not achieve greatness.

    Why did Eastwood and Spielberg decide to make “Letters from Iwo Jima” this calm instead of making an adrenaline-pumping film? My guess is that they did not care about the average audience and the commercial success as much as they did care for the story’s integrity.

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