From the desk of The Movie Snob
Letters From Iwo Jima (B). If you follow the movies at all, you know that last year Clint Eastwood (Jersey Boys) directed two movies about the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers told the story from the American point of view, and this one told the story from the Japanese point of view. This one got much better buzz (and some Oscar nominations), so I skipped Flags and saw Letters. It’s not a bad entry in the war-is-hell genre, and there is fine acting by the two protagonists. Ken Watanabe (Inception) plays General Kuribayashi as a gifted leader who knows that reinforcements will never come and defeat is inevitable. Kazunari Ninomiya plays Saigo, an everyman character who was drafted into the army and torn away from his humble bakery and his pregnant wife. I did feel some empathy for the doomed soldiers, but for some reason the movie never completely absorbed me. Although it’s less than 2 1/2 hours long, I found myself looking at my watch before the 2-hour mark. But I still think it was a good movie. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.