Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara
Letters from Iwo Jima is the story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the US and Imperial Japan during the second World War but told from the perspective of the Japanese who were involved on the island.
This was a very interesting watch as it was really intriguing to see what the Japanese had gone through during their time in the war. Documented by unsent letters which were found in the 21st century, Eastwood managed to bring the gruelling tension and cultural definition of honour to the screen with an almost monochrome filter looming over the entire film. With the added grainy effect, we’re thrown into the mix following Saigo, a young poor baker who takes us through the harsh regime of the Japanese army and having to defend Iwo Jima.
Adding to the authenticity, the dialogue is in Japanese with subtitles so it’s obvious Eastwood must have had a translator at hand on set for the whole thing. It’s really refreshing when this is done correctly and not washed out. Eastwood made sure to not make this a “good vs Evil” debate as he did show some of the best qualities some of the Japanese soldiers had like Lieutenant General Kuribayashi played by Ken Watanabe. Strong, intelligent but also caring with a strong heart and this is something that made this film really work.
Acting as the second part to Eastwood’s other war flick Flags of our Fathers which is about the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, Letters from Iwo Jima is another great and meaningful true story from Clint Eastwood’s rich library.