First off, Letters From Iwo Jima is an excellent film. It absolutly deserves it's Academy Award nomination for best picture.
Now for the non-historicly minded individual, I would recommend a viewing of Flags of our Fathers before Letters from Iwo Jima (Flags of Our Fathers is out on DVD tomorrow).
Flags of our Fathers gives you the basic American understanding of the battle of Iwo Jima plus the pop-culture, and the power of war marketing and fund raising that went on domesticly in the US.
Yet, Letters from Iwo Jima really is the true gem. Just like I mentioned the other day about true stories, true stories are always complicated because there's not always clear good and evil. So it's unqiue to watch Letters from the prospective of the Japanese as the protagonist.
Secondly, How depressing is it that no one has seen this excellent film. This past weekend Letters from Iwo Jima came in #15 at the boxoffice, with the top films of the weekend being The Messengers, Because I Said So, and Epic Movie, all making more money in their opening weekend than Letters has made in its slow 7 week release.
This is not surprising since me and my wife saw this film at a very busy theater on a Saturday night, and although it was a later showing watched it with ourselves and 4 men who were all sitting there watching it by themselves.
Hollywood makes crummy films because that's what people go see. Clint Eastwood did an astounding job in this Japanese-language film about a historical US-Japanese WWII battle told from the Japanese perspective. Also Paul Haggis and Iris Yamashita did an excellent job writing and developing the story as well, and deserve a whole lot of recognition.
Previous Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima Posts:
Flags of Our Fathers (January 18, 2006)
Update: Dan Brown, Red Sun, Prince Caspian & Survivor (March 13, 2006)
Who Will Get Recognized in Flags of our Fathers? (September 29, 2006)
October 20th Face-Off: Prestige vs. FooF (October 18, 2006)
Post-Viewing Thoughts Flags of Our Fathers Recognition (October 28, 2006)
Letters from Iwo Jima: a 2006 contender (November 26, 2006)
Are We Just Ordinary People? (January 11, 2007)
Academy Award Nomination Knee Jerk Thoughts (January 23, 2007)
Related Tags: Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood, Academy Awards, Japanese, WWII, America, Box Office, Paul Haggis, Iris Yamashita