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.