Clint Eastwood‘s Flags of Our Fathers (Dreamamount, 10.20), the WWII epic about Iwo Jima and the p.r. effort to celebrate the men who raised the flag atop Mt. Surabachi, began screening for selected journalists this week in New York, according to a 9.21 N.Y. Times piece by David Halbfinger.
He calls it “a big, booming spectacle that sprawls across oceans and generations,” with “much of [it] following the flag raisers as they crisscross the country in the spring and summer of 1945 pitching war bonds for a government in desperate financial straits. It is neither a pure war movie nor, given its sweeping and harrowing combat sequences, merely a wartime drama. It examines the power of a single image to affect not only public opinion but also the outcome of a war.
“Above all it is a study of the callous ways in which heroes are created for public consumption, used and discarded, all with the news media’s willing cooperation. And it is imbued with enough of a critique of American politicians and military brass to invite suspicions that Hollywood is appropriating the iconography of World War II to score contemporary political points.
“Yet just when it verges on indicting the people responsible for exploiting the troops, the movie comes round to their point of view.”
This last bit reads like a critique, no? Is Halbfinger saying Eastwood cops out or pulls his punches on some level? Left Coast critics and journos wll begin to see Flags sometime next week.