Indian Comics Irregular #147
"Flags of Our Fathers," Clint Eastwood's latest movie masterwork, tells the story of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima and its aftermath. Here's what the critics are saying:
Clint Eastwood's "Flags of our Fathers" questions the way that the inconceivable savagery of warfare is transformed into mythology and legend for political ends. While it's flawed by a sometimes confusing timeline, it is a great achievement in American filmmaking, a haunting statement about the nature of violence and heroism. (Press Democrat, 10/20/06)
As he did in "Unforgiven," "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood handles this nuanced material with aplomb, giving every element of this complex story just the weight it deserves. The director's lean dispassion, his increased willingness to be strongly emotional while retaining an instinctive restraint, continues to astonish. (LA Times, 10/20/06)
"Flags of Our Fathers" stands with the best movies of this young century and the old one that preceded it: It's passionate, honest, unflinching, gripping, and it pays respects. The flag raising on Iwo might have indeed become a pseudo-event as it was processed for goals, but there was nothing pseudo about the courage of the men who did it. (Washington Post, 10/20/06)
The Native Angle
Echoing "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," a downbeat eulogy that was a hit song for Johnny Cash in 1964, "Flags of Our Fathers" is a powerful requiem.
Making an American Indian the gravitational core of a movie about "the Greatest Generation" is testament to Eastwood's ability to delve into this nation's complex, contradictory, damaging and moving psyche.
Like the greatest tragic heroes, Hayes' downward spiral in "Flags" is not merely the result of his own flaws. It is also the bitter fruit of a nation's hopes and hubris, its generosity and bigotry. (Denver Post, 10/14/06)
[Adam] Beach, who was brought up on the Dog Creek Indian Reserve in Manitoba and is a member of the Salteaux tribe, sees Hayes as an inspirational figure. He feels that portraying him has brought him closer to his personal goal of becoming an influential leader of the Indian nations.
"Ira Hayes is a hero to me," he says, dabbing his eyes. "He is like a lot of other heroes of war who struggled to maintain their dignity through those horrors. The American Indian in him kept him strong." (Toronto Star, 10/14/06)
Ira seeks refuge in grog and Beach's wrenching depiction of his fall into an alcoholic hellhole becomes the film's beating heart and has critics talking up an Oscar nomination. So it's indeed ironic that Beach nearly missed the part that could put him in that elite company. When Beach first asked Eastwood about playing Ira, he was rejected as too old. It was another six months before Eastwood rang back and asked him to audition. (The Australian, 10/28/06)
The Oscar Buzz
The left-leaning Academy is likely to be receptive to the movie's skepticism about the government's truthfulness, which many will likely relate to the current administration's role in Iraq. (NY Post, 10/5/06)
Hayes (Adam Beach, who was a more idealized Native American Marine in John Woo's "Windtalkers") deserves an Oscar nom for this, the showiest role in the film. (Washington Post, 10/20/06)
Co-star Ryan Phillippe was the first to peg Beach's performance as Oscar-worthy, proclaiming "you're nominated" on set. (Ottawa Sun, 10/10/06)
For more on "Flags of Our Fathers," go to http://www.bluecorncomics.com/flagsof.htm
Blue Corn Comics