Owen Gleiberman on 'Flags of Our Fathers' | The Moviegoer

Owen Gleiberman on 'Flags of Our Fathers'

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The battle sequences, shot with a desaturated, nearly black-and-white clarity in Iceland, and with an added layer of CGI, evoke Saving Private Ryan, and that's a problem: The rawness of the action holds us, yet Eastwood never approaches Spielberg's mesmerizing logistical virtuosity, his revelations of blood and terror. Inevitably, the heart of the movie shifts Stateside. Yet here too, Flags of Our Fathers offers more earnestness than urgency. I never felt we were truly getting to know the three soldiers outside of their awkward PR juggernaut. Phillippe's Doc is crucially underwritten, and Bradford never gets past a certain self-contained smoothness, though Adam Beach, the star of Smoke Signals, digs deep into Ira Hayes' tormented, drunken ambivalence about his role as a symbol. His lacerating performance suggests what Flags of Our Fathers, with a less didactic historical focus, might have been: an investigation into the everyday lives of American soldiers who saved the world but never knew what to do with the agonies they carried home with them.

Here's the full B- review.


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