Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Flags Of Our Fathers

When I was a young Marine recruit, we would sit indian style on the squad bay floor, polishing our boots, shining our brass and reciting Marine Corps History. Among the most memorable stories from those days of indoctrination were the stories of Dan Daly and famous shout at the Battle of Belleu Wood in France "Come on you sons of b1tches, do you want to live forever?"...the story of the Battle of Tripoli and the Flag Raising at Mount Suribachi on the Island of Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers tells the story of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi.

The writing in this movie was excellent. The screenplay was adapted by William Broyles Jr and Paul Haggis. The screenplay was taken from the book written by James Bradley and Ron Powers. The accounts in the original book from James Bradley were taken largely from personal accounts. James Bradley's father, John Bradley was a Corpsman and was one of the men pictured in the Flag Raising at Iwo Jima. The dialogue in this movie is rich and believable. The flow of the screenplay could have been smoother. The movement from one era to the other could have been smoother. Through a series of flashbacks we are taken back to the events leading up to the flag raising. However, the transition between eras is not always as smooth as it could have been. Aside from this jerkiness in flow, the writing was outstanding.

Bradley's father, John Bradley is depicted by Ryan Phillippe. Phillippe has been in several films, but I am unfamiliar with his work. His acting laid a solid foundation for the movie. Phillippe was upstaged in the movie by Jesse Bradford. Bradford plays the front man in much of the movie and does a good job of selling his part. Adam Beach rounds out the "big three" in this film, playing the role of Ira Hayes. Beaches character has demons to exorcise in this film and he is convincing as a troubled but modest hero. The extensive cast in this film performed magnificently in a very dramatic and often emotional film.

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