I’m being told by someone who doesn’t necessarily know anything solid that Paramount/DreamWorks’ plan on the second Clint Eastwood Iwo Jima film — Red Sun, Black Sand — is to bring it out in early ’07 and not release it, platform-style or otherwise, in late ’06. If this is the determination (and I say “if”) I don’t know if this is the right way to go, as I tried to explain the other day.
The reason I think they may be wrong is that I’m a little uncertain about the Oscar worthiness of Flags of Our Fathers, based on a reading of a draft of Paul Haggis‘s script. Eastwood’s film might have much more going for it than is indicated by Haggis’s script (which I didn’t read a recent draft of), but last March I ran a piece about how it reads, and wrote the following:
“I’m not saying Flags [doesn’t look like] a possible Oscar favorite, or that it doesn’t have the earmarks, in fact, of a presumptive front-runner. But all I can really say for sure, having slept on Haggis’s 119-page script, is that I’m genuinely impressed, but at the same time I’m wondering how much broad-based appeal the film will turn out to have.
“Put bluntly, the script reads like Saving Private Ryan‘s artier, more glum- faced brother. It has a lot of the same battle carnage and then some, a bit of the old-WWII-veteran-looking-back vibe and minus the manipulative Spielberg tearjerk factor but also with less of a narrative through-line.
“Fathers is a sad, compassionate, sometimes horrifically violent piece that’s essentially plotless and impressionistic and assembled like a kind of time- tripping poem — a script made from slices of memory and pieces of bodies and heartfelt hugs and salutes from family members and politicians back home, and delivered with a lot of back-and-forth cutting.
“So it’s basically a montage thing that’s obviously more of an art film than a campfire tale, and that means that the sector that says ‘give us a good story and enough with the arty pretensions’ is going to be thinking ‘hmmm’ as they leave the screening room.”