Letters from Iwo Jima 2006

Letters From Iwo Jima

Critics Consensus

A powerfully humanistic portrayal of the perils of war, this companion piece to Flags of our Fathers is potent and thought-provoking, and it demonstrates Clint Eastwood's maturity as a director.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 202

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 341,085

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Movie Info

Long-buried missives from the island reveal the stories of the Japanese troops who fought and died there during World War II. Among them are Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic champion; and Shimizu (Ryô Kase), an idealistic soldier. Though Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) knows he and his men have virtually no chance of survival, he uses his extraordinary military skills to hold off American troops as long as possible.

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Critic Reviews for Letters from Iwo Jima

All Critics (202) | Top Critics (53) | Fresh (184) | Rotten (18)

Audience Reviews for Letters from Iwo Jima

  • Nov 20, 2016
    Filmed back to back with Flags of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima is told from the Japanese soldier's POV, which makes it a fascinating film right from the start. General Kuribayashi, played by Ken Watanabe, makes for one of the most interesting characters in all of war films. A man who used to be close friends with the Americans is now using their weapon gifted to him right back on their own soldiers. It provides serious perspective and gives you a newfound understanding that war isn't always good vs. evil. There are good and bad people on both sides, but the treacheries of war don't discriminate.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 25, 2014
    Being the companion piece to Eastwood's previous Flags of Our Fathers, this WW2 epic tells a different perspective being that with good and evil on both sides, the only enemy is war itself. Very thought provoking and unlike other war movies that portray any side as strictly heroes.
    Max G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2013
    Another poignant and powerful WWII film. Truly brilliant.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer
  • Jul 30, 2012
    For a movie that has had an amazing word of mouth, "Letters from Iwo Jima" surprisingly is not quite the punch that I'd thought it would be. That isn't to say, "Letters" was a bad movie -- just thought the film did very little to distinguish itself from the rest of the movies within the war genre. Compared to your average war-movie, "Letters" has a bit more depth to it. Yes, visually, you're not gonna find much difference contrary to watching "Saving Private Ryan". The color palette, the shaky-cam, death and blood between quick-cuts, and dirt flinging up from ricocheting bullets are all done via "Saving Private Ryan"'s style except with a considerably lacking production value. Thus, the film seems to be another emulation of the visually and the viscerally spectacular, "Saving Private Ryan". But what "Letters from Iwo Jima" does differently compared to ANY war movie (from what I've seen) is the depiction of themes and struggles that have scarcely been covered in any type of American storytelling. This scarcity, much like how scarcely an American studio would humanize and show the perspective of America's opposing forces during WWII, is present because these themes and struggles are direct challenges of Japanese culture. Like a boss, Eastwood doesn't just leave these heavy themes on the eastern side of the world; he challenges both American and Japanese cultures, almost as if he speaks out to bring both parties at a healthy medium. The heavy and emotional narrative alone, gives "Letters from Iwo Jima" a distinctive identity of its own. The narrative does come heavy-handed though. Many movies that delve into traumatizing events like "The Pianist" or "The Pursuit of Happyness" always seem to fall into the same storytelling detriments: They focus on repetitively piling more and more saddening events without involving viewers emotionally with any of the characters and without introducing any new developments in the narrative. By the end, it just leaves you feeling numbed and saddened, wondering when the climax hit. "Letters from Iwo Jima" ALMOST falls into the same pit, but luckily, manages to pull out of this path and inject an emotional and immersive storyline that gives enough hope and enough characterization to pull out and see that this isn't a bash-fest of sorrow upon the audience. The film isn't without its share of problems though. Editing can be sloppy, cinematography goes from down-right-gorgeous to muddy, and the direction for certain sequences is lazy. It's a shame because under all this mess lies an emotional core with extravagantly fantastic performances and screenplay that accentuate the multi-layered narrative to flying colors. This is hardly Clint Eastwood's best film, and "Letters", though has dynamic themes and challenges, isn't much more different than your typical war-movie, but this film as a whole, gives a true salute to the people that mustered up courage to put on a soldier's uniform, regardless of whether they were American or Japanese.
    Albert K Super Reviewer

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