I am not familiar with a lot of world history. WWII has always fascinated me and I have always had a great deal of reverent respect for the people who fought and died in WWII. I generally like to consume all the matter out there on WWII and often end up getting depressed for days. I had been looking forward to watch the Clint Eastwood productions of ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ and ‘Flags of our Father’ for quite some time. These movies depict the most horrific battlegrounds of WWII from both the American and Japanese perspective.
‘Letters from Iwo Jima’, shot in Japanese, depicts the story of the unarmed, untrained and outnumbered Japanese army trying to stand against the American sea and air attack at Iwo Jima. The volcanic island of Iwo Jima was an important roadblock that needed to be overcome to attack the mainland. Under the leadership of , Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, the Japanese army followed a uncoventional defence strategy, and built caves and tunnels across the island. It is these caves and tunnels that turned the battle from the predicted 3 day matter to a 35 day battle.
The letters written by the General were the basis for the filming of them movie. Now you know the Japs are the bad guys, but, as you watch the movie, you can’t help but feel an empathy for the poor young soldiers holed up in those caves, waiting for US to attack, waiting to die. They know they are outnumbered, and they know they are never going home…but they must defend their homeland till their last breath. You realize as you watch this movie, that if war has a point, then it’s not for the people who participate in it. Separated from home and their lives, they are fighting for someone else’s cause. Murder is a crime. But during war time it becomes acceptable. Strange, isn’t it?
I found the movie depressing and very moving. I will recommend this to anyone who likes watching serious cinema.