Entertainment Weekly - 12/22/2006
"[P]rofound, magisterial, and gripping....LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA enthralls in the audacity of its simplicity." -- Grade: A
Rolling Stone - 12/28/2006 Ranked #3 in Rolling Stone's "The 10 Best Movies Of 2006" -- "[A] single, stinging portrait of war..."
Rolling Stone - 12/28/2006 4 stars out of 4 -- "Eastwood's film burns into the memory by striving for authentic detail. The result is unique and unforgettable."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/29/2006
Included in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Films Of The Year" -- "[A] war picture that honors every soldier everywhere..."
Film Comment - 01/01/2007 Ranked #16 in Film Comment's "20 Best Films Of 2006."
Uncut - 03/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "Directed with fluency and grace, LETTERS...illuminates a desperately dark episode with rare insight and conviction."
Sight and Sound - 03/01/2007
"[A]s a seasoned film-maker, he can render action -- especially sudden death or suicide -- as disorientating as it's startling."
Total Film - 04/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he performances ensure an emotional connection....LETTERS seeks to humanise the other side in a way FLAGS never did..."
Ultimate DVD - 08/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Eastwood treads a respectful and even-handed path."
Wall Street Journal - 02/05/2010
"In a larger sense, it's the second, and artistically superior, half of a single epic film that springs from a single act of compassionate imagination..."
Clint Eastwood's companion piece to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is again set during World War II. But in LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, he looks at the war from the Japanese perspective, using Japanese dialogue. With American forces on their way, General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe, THE LAST SAMURAI) arrives on the island to find his troops woefully under-trained and hopelessly outmatched. Japanese pop and television star Kazunari Ninomiya plays Saigo, a young soldier who asks, "Am I digging my own grave'" as he creates trenches. With no hope of reinforcements, these men have little hope of leaving the island alive.
Eastwood and director of photography Tom Stern paint their picture in a palette of taupes and grays. The landscape of the volcanic island is desolate, providing a hellish experience for the stationed soldiers but a stark beauty for the audience. With this bleak setting, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a powerful ode to duty in dire circumstances. General Kuribayashi and Saigo provide the emotional center of the film, giving a glimpse into the minds of both seasoned officers and drafted novices. Eastwood doesn't deal in simple heroes and villains; these characters are sympathetic and real, whether their motives are pride, fear, or loyalty to their country. Though only the Academy-Award-nominated Watanabe is a familiar face to American audiences, each of the actors involved displays his experience working in Japanese film, television, and theater. The battle scenes are breathtaking and brutal, but it's the actors who are the core of the film. The picture has the standard tropes found in any modern war film, like verbal abuse by a superior and battle scenes filled with severed limbs. But Eastwood goes beyond the war-movie boilerplate with this impressive film that deserves every accolade it earns.
Theatrical Release |
True Story |
World War II