December 8, 2006, - 3:48 pm

Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima Movie (From Japanese Point of View)

By Debbie Schlussel
I just got back from seeing Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima,” told from the point of view of the Japanese fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. YA-A-A-AWN.
Sorry, but I just can’t see why everyone’s ranting and raving over how fabulous this movie is. It’s possibly one of the most boring movies I’ve seen in my lifetime. A total snoozer. I struggled–and failed–to stay awake during this 2.5 hour movie told completely in Japanese (and English subtitles). The thing could have been told in half the time (and still would have been boring, though not at much so).
Fortunately, the movie was not as I’d feared, in sympathizing with the enemy. It didn’t do that very much, a few brief–but patently unfair–scenes showing Americans shooting Japanese soldiers who’d already surrendered. There is no evidence anything like this ever happened, but the point is to make American soldiers look bad. And it does the trick. But, again, this movie does the trick for the insomnia-inflicted.


I only hope that when Clint Eastwood’s grandchildren, 60 or 70 years from now, make their movie “from Al-Qaeda’s” point of view, it is equally boring and ineffective.
Stay tuned for my complete review when the movie is released.

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9 Responses

OK I understand you found the film not that engaging. However, I believe you owe a bigger explanation about the message of the film, which I believe you addressed a long time ago when you first heard about the film. I believe you stated AS FACT that Clint was going to bash America and be pro fascist sympathy. And lo and behold, he has made a balanced film from your point of view. I want an apology for your jumping to conclusions about a film you knew NOTHING about. Also, calling a film boring is all and good, but a true film critic would address Why a film was boring, and the other factors of a film beyond entertainment level. Analysis of the script, performances, visuals, editing, sound, and so forth. I am greatly looking forward to this movie, as it seems very well intentioned and classically well made.

eluril on December 8, 2006 at 4:59 pm

I really get a kick out of how people will criticize without focusing on the topic at hand. The first person to comment here, ìEluril,î is claiming Debbie criticized the history itself when Debbie criticized the production ñ these are two totally separate matters. When it comes to long movies in foreign languages, ìThe Passion of the Christî is the exception to the rule and Clint Eastwood probably forgot that. Historically, people do not like sitting in a theater for 2.5 hours while reading subtitles.

Boycott Watch on December 10, 2006 at 1:12 am
Maybe you’d forgotten about smearing Eastwood in this article Deb.
Also Go to Flags of Our where both films have been discussed in detail. You will find that 99% of those there disagree with your political views on the story of the film.
Also, I take major offense to saying that FOOF story is a “Big Lie”. Actually, Bradley’s book is an incredibly true story. The film version captures many of the moments from this book, and was praised by Bradley for being accurate. So there you go, lying again Debbie. You are a pretty ignorant person from my perspective, conservative, socialist, whatever. It doesn’t matter what political view you’re spouting, a lie is a lie is a lie. And calling Flags of Our Fathers a “big lie” is more of an insult to the men that fought at Iwo than Clint Eastwood would ever think of saying. Allow me to post the rest of my response to your FOOF review.
First of all, I am no leftist. I am also not a person that will “choose” to be ignorant like so many of you seem to be. What Clint Eastwood is saying with his films is that war itself is a human problem. He doesn’t politicize shit in the film. He simply shows the truth of the story as laid out in the book by James Bradley, whose father was a flagraiser and had to live with “hero” worship his whole life. I believe the point that the movie makes is that Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and all the other marines who fought at Iwo, as well as those that died, should be remembered as men, men who did their duty to their country and to each other in battle, but they still were just men. Just normal human beings.
From your review you called the story behind the flag raising inconsequential. That is a leftist thought, that the state benefitted from the sacrifices of the men and that the individual suffering of the “Heroes” is inconsequential. Far leftists sicken me, but far right people even more because you people ignore truth, and do not give in to any idea of relativity or questioning absolutist ideas. Furthermore, the film also depicts in one key scene prior to the Invasion pictures of atrocities committed by the militaristic Japanese, so your idea that he is glorifying the Japanese empire is just plain wrong. Also, the main character in the forthcoming Letters from Iwo Jima opposed the war with America (he had been an ambassador to the US in the 20s.)
All in all, your philosophical reasoning for opposing this film is extremely weak. A quote from the New York Times review sums up the film quite well in my opinion:If ìFlags of Our Fathersî feels so unlike most war movies and sounds so contrary to the usual political rhetoric, it is not because it affirms that war is hell, which it does with unblinking, graphic brutality. Itís because Mr. Eastwood insists, with a moral certitude that is all too rare in our movies, that we extract an unspeakable cost when we ask men to kill other men. There is never any doubt in the film that the country needed to fight this war, that it was necessary; it is the horror at such necessity that defines ìFlags of Our Fathers,î not exultation.

eluril on December 10, 2006 at 7:20 pm

Just to further rip you down, I will post something you said directly in your review:
Clint Eastwood made a movie that is possibly mostly true. The acting is excellent, especially that of star Ryan Phillippe (who plays “Doc” Bradley). It is a well executed film. But so what? We are at war, right now.
Notice the mostly true part. Notice the well executed film part. And guess what? Your reason for thinking the film should not be released is that we are at war now.
To further discredit you, the National Board of Review, American Film Institute and Los Angeles Film Critics just announced their best films of the year. Guess what film is on all their lists? Letters from Iwo Jima. I think I’d rather trust professional film institutions and Critics about how good or bad a film is rather than unobjective ideologues such as yourself. In the world you want, the US would nuke the middle East and Bush would be crowned emperor of the world. I’m sure you thought the world in V For Vendetta looked like a fucking utopian society. Really, I have just smashed your whole arguments against Flags and Letters completely apart. Let’s see how you and your mass of followers respond to that.

eluril on December 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm

Old Clint got his liberal digs in with the part on U.S. troops shooting surrendered Japanese soldiers, a rare event in the Pacific theater and a clear violation of the Geneva Convention.
Clint also conveniently forgot that Japanese troops rarely surrendered. It was a culturally disgraceful thing; the ultimate dishonor of the warrior code. In fact, even captured wounded Japanese soldiers would continue to fight and preferred suicide over capture. U.S. Marines and soldiers literally pried the Japanese out of their bunkers and caves, or burned or buried them alive because the warrior code required them to fight to the death.
In forgetting about the Geneva Convention, Eastwood overlooks the fact that the United States vigorously pursued legal action in those rare instances when prisoners were shot by U.S. forces. Men, albeit a few, did go to prison for that.
But, what about the many U.S. troops who, as helpless and unarmed POWS, were ruthlessly executed by the Japanese? The Japanese military strategy under the warrior code was to NOT take prisoners, unlike the United States, which operated under codes of wartime conduct. Never forget that the fanatical Nipponese culture was race and religion centered, in the same way that Arab and Islam culture are today. The Japanese found enemy surrender or capture to be such disgraceful conduct that they were ENTITLED to execute the prisoners. In doing so, they summarily executed the wounded, the ill, officers and senior enlisted, the starving, the proud and uncompromising, those who didn’t work fast or hard enough for their liking, and for any reason imaginable under the “Rising Sun.”

Tad Nugent on December 11, 2006 at 8:06 am

Well, I know for a fact that Clint didn’t shy away from showing the suicidal nature of Japanese in either Flags or Letters. That is quite clear. What is also quite clear is that the Americans also shot people brutally. I recommend going to and discussing this subject with some of the veterans there. They hold your same concerns about the japanese, but they also acknowledge that some shootings did take place. You’re probably one of those who oppose the “let em burn” scene in Saving Private Ryan, which simply adds to the realism. Americans aren’t saints. Plain and simple. War is war, killing and maiming, it’s what is done.

eluril on December 11, 2006 at 10:41 am

Ahhhhh yes. I knew it would come out eventually:
“What is also quite clear is that the Americans also shot people brutally.”
THAT type of behavior by AMERICAN troops is EXTREMELY rare. By equating the very rare instance of an American emulating the very common behavior of a barbaric enemy, you just lost all credibility, pal. I bet you’re of the same ilk who paraded around the photographed pranks at Abu Graib and equated those incidents with Muslim-led beheadings.
Oh wait – forcing mind-numbed, barbaric murderers to wear panties on their heads is even worse than videotaped beheadings of innocent people because, ya see, panties can be sooooo degrading to a Muslim male. I can hardly wait for THAT movie to be made.
~(ƒ)~ Death From Above

Rocketman on December 12, 2006 at 8:27 am

Ummm, actually, no. I don’t know what’s up with your assumptions and throwing around inane rhetoric along with your attitude, but I’m going to clarify a few points for you.
First, I specifically said that there were instances. You missed the point that, on those rare occasions that it occurred, we prosecuted our troops. Our enemies did not. You seem to have a rationalization that a few instances of atrocity by indidivuals on our side justify the culturally systemic wholescale atrocities perpertrated by our enemies. I will add to my observation about the ruthless Imperial Japanese culture by pointing to their enslavement of thousands of Korean women to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese Army and to the enslavement, torture and murder of thousands of Chinese men, women and children.
Talk to some Web “veteran”? I have a very good perspecitve as to Asian culture since I served in the Marine Corps for 15 years, which included a year in Japan and a year on Okinawa. I also think I’ve got a pretty good perspective on war. Not only did I study it as part of my professional development, but I also served as a rifleman in both Panama and the Gulf War. Heck, I’ve worn out a seabag for every Starbucks cup you’ve thrown away!
Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking you know what war is about just because you’ve watched a movie, read a book or fantasied about it through a video game. Based upon all of your posts, your ignorance of the subject betrays you. It is not the simplistic thing you profess it to be. If you knew anything of war, then you would know that war is not just “killing and maiming,” as you put it. Let me educate you: War as practiced by those who know and understand it is controlled violence unleashed with great rapidity and skill upon an adversary who is attempting to do the same to you. The profession of arms is both an art and a science that, when learned and applied, gives warriors the presence of mind to stand and fight when every natural in-born instinct tells them to run.
Since you so boldly made an assumption about me, let me make one about you: Your posts indicate you’re just another snot whose only purpose in life up to this point has been to suckle at the teet of society while courageous men and women of action preserve your freedoms and provide them for the oppressed. Mommy and daddy pay –or paid– your college tuition bill so you could study the greatness of Marxism, the benefits of neo-fascist lesbianism, or the great minds of leftist American cinema. All-the-while, you despise the military, what it does and what it represents because you’re inwardly self-conscious of the fact that you’re either a Cat 4 who couldn’t qualify to serve, or you’re just too chicken to sign an enlistment paper. So now your life centers around the fact that you must be content with wrapping yourself up in the anonymous cloak cyberspace to lift up the likes of Hollywood liberals who enrich themselves by defaming the nation’s heroes under distorted revisionist lenses. Even worse, it unnerves you to live with the fact that, at the very point a young man or woman signs an enlistment paper, they will have exercised more courage, character, service and goodwill than you have done during your entire existence. Unwashed liberistas like you always like to chant “What if they gave a war and no one came?” while selectively omitting the rest of the prose, which is “Then the war will come to you.”
Crawl back into your hole, pick up your dog-eared copy of “A Million Little Pieces”, put in your earbuds, and don’t worry. Those men and women who followed in my footsteps will continue to ensure you get to spend the freedom you didn’t earn. We may be soiled saints, but we’re saints nonetheless.

Tad Nugent on December 12, 2006 at 9:45 am

Well, I am paying with college through scholarships I earned through my own efforts as a white male, so that shoots down a big part of your assumption about me. Second, I already stated I’m not a radical leftwing at all, so your thoughts on marxism, feminism, etc have no bearing. Second, the assumption is that only soldiers can have any knowledge of the military is just wrong, I am aware of military science. It’s not simplistic, thus my comment that war is killing and maiming means: because of the complexity of war, sometimes things get thrown aside. Rules of engagement and so forth. You’ve made assumptions about me, I’ve made em about you, but you still refuse to recognize the humanity in “The Enemy”. People, as long as they are alive, are entitled to dignity and protection from torture no matter their actions or how “evil” they are. Your utilitarian ethics I find completely distasteful. No where did I say that the ends justify the means. This means that even though there were isolated incidents of brutality on the American side, there were systematic incidents on the Japanese side because of their culture. Both are morally wrong, in absolute terms. The use of such brutality is always wrong, no matter what side uses it.
In the end, when I get a job in the intelligence field I’m sure I’ll have to deal with all kinds of gung ho, “patriots” like those here who don’t see the bigger picture.

eluril on December 13, 2006 at 10:26 am

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