November 30, 2006

Critique of Beach in Flags

Movie Review:  Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers--FoofIra is the one who's destroyed—he can't get over his survivor's guilt that better marines than he died on the island. He drinks so heavily he's kicked off the tour and sent back to fight. Later, we learn, he becomes a farm laborer (whom tourists drive out of their way to be photographed with in the fields) and dies of drink. Ira is the heart of the picture, but his story is simultaneously overdone and underdeveloped.

I wish that nearly every person he engages with didn't make a tactless or taunting comment about his race. Ira may respond as a Native American of his day would have (it can't be the first time he's been called "Chief," after all), but the 2006 audience doesn't hear it that way. (This is part of the larger problem, that every character is always displaying his personality. The treatment of character is hackneyed in the way it has been in American war movies since the silent era, though it usually includes a healthier dose of comedy than you get in Flags of Our Fathers.) Then the fact that Ira becomes a falling-down drunk on the bond tour changes the subject, although the moviemakers apparently don't realize it. Are they suggesting that the war-bond tour caused his alcoholism? Do they think that alcoholics aren't capable of creating their own problems, even in what from the outside seem like ideal circumstances?
Comment:  The whole review is equally critical of Flags. You can get a taste of the movie's quality from the trailer below.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, this reviewer's manifesto is about as concise, competent and insightful as his writing (which is to say...NOT.)

Was FOOF a flawless film? No, it wasn't. Did it do a reasonable job depicting the lives of the three main characters? Yep, it did--and had the reviewer done his homework he would realize that yes, Rene Gagnon DID seek fame and glory and end up as a janitor; yes, Doc Bradley WAS haunted by the death of his good friend "Iggy" and shunned the spotlight following the war; and yes, Ira Hayes was tormented by what he saw and shucked the "hero" title only to succumb to a sad death.

If you read this dude's comments, he's implying Eastwood MADE ALL OF THIS UP. I love his quote about Ira, "I wish that nearly every person he engages with didn't make a tactless or taunting comment about his race." Duh, yeah. I'm sure he did too.

Anyhow, goes to show that only SOME of us are capable of writing a pippin' review, just as some of us are capable of making a good movie...;~)

Rob said...

Well, I haven't seen the movie, so I don't necessarily endorse this review. But since I've posted so much praise of Adam Beach's performance, I thought it was only fair to post this dissenting view.