When I saw, Saving Private Ryan, I thought no World War II picture could top that. I was wrong. The biggest difference in this film was waiting for those familiar handsome major stars to show up but they never arrived. What I got were well established but lesser known actors who were probably cast in the best roles so far in their careers. Ordinary faces were cast to play ordinary young men
This is not so much a story about heroes but about American politician’s use and abuse of symbols and showmanship to lead the country in their desired direction. Such was the case for three of six ordinary young men who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That place of course was Iwo Jima and their deed was being in Joe Rosenthal’s famous flag raising photograph taken Feb. 23, 1945. Rosenthal was an Associated Press photographer who took that Pulitzer Prize-winning picture. The three surviving boys' reward was being recruited help sell war bonds through an elaborate dog and pony show during the darkest time of the war.
These boys were revered as heroes not for their sacrifice and suffering but for raising the flag. The following outstanding young actors played the flag raising heroes:
Ryan Phillippeas, John "Doc" Bradley
Jesse Bradford as Rene Gagnon
Adam Beach as Ira Hayes
The most complex character of the film is the alcoholic and troubled, American Indian, Ira Hayes. I fully expect an Academy Award nomination for Adam Beach’s effort here.
I have to say that the period costumes and props were a realistic work of art. No expense was spared bringing the audience to Iwo Jima's ring-side seats.
The screenplay was first rate and the story perfectly told by those master film makers Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg.
Of course I fully expect too many of the politically correct mainstream reviewers, who hate war films to color their reviews with their personal baggage.
Yes, I recommend this film as one of the better offerings Hollywood has produced in the last several years.
You can find the trailer and additional information here.