Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Movie Review - Flags of our fathers

A new evening. A new movie. This time since there was nothing else to watch other than Chennai 600028. I was saving it for the weekend adn so I watched Flags of our Fathers... their fathers. The oremise.. teh story reminded me of Conrad Brean (excellent role by de Niro) in Wag the Dog.. saying "One little image of one smart bomb falling down a chimney... and the American public bought the war". I suppose the same thing had happened even in World War 2.

America had been in the war for over 4 years, and money was running short. They needed to raise 13 billion... otherwise their war was over. What do they do? Once again I was reminded of a Wag the Dog reference. The character Stanley Motts played by Distin Hoffman saying.. "What was I thinking !!! We have a war and we do not have a hero??? We NEED a hero..."

The American public needed a hero, a champion who would epitomize America's victory in the war... for the public to bank roll it. And just as Hollywood producers now turn to their media managers and PROs to increase a movie's worth before its release, the American government turned to its media division. Iwo Jima got caught in the lime light and that image of the second flag being raised... played a significant role in raising part of 13 billion dollars needed for the war.

What is interesting in this movie is the disparate understandings of this significant event by the involved parties. The soldiers who raised the first flag, came back to the USA and who became part of the 'bond drive', did not want to be perceived as heroes, because they, as soldiers did not do much towards the victory. The people who wanted to use this excellent photograph as the poster for propaganda, thought of them mainly as prize resources.
The reason why the second flag was raised, was seen through the soldier's eyes... as primarily army politics, while the general public viewed the reason behind raising the flag as a staged photo opportunity. The politicians wanted to encash on this to further their bigger level plans. Neither of the intentions were dishonourable, except possibly the politician's view, which, to quote Colonel Nathan Jessop saying, "Grotesque as it may seem, their existence is absolutely necessary..."

That was the story, a really interesting and topical story, with the current war going on. The difference being that, WW 2 was necessary. There was a clear threat and clear agression on the part of America's enemy. The reasoning behind the current war not compeletely clear to the people and yet the US Government has come back with the most powerfully staged photo ops in history.

This shot of the flag being raised was the seed for such a marketing concept and has been done in as suave a way as possible. The movie in general talks about how each view of the war, is in essence a necessity in the broad scheme of things.

The final statement... "There are no heroes in real life... just ordinary men doing ordinary things... but the heroes are made as and when are needed", suits the cynical attitude of today's society. This is a slow moving movie, I did not like the way the events had been sequenced, but still a movie worth its 2 hours running time.


Anonymous said...


wag the dog is super cool..(i suppose you also have the sound track?)

have to see this some time..


Escape.... Great Escape said...

Yes :-). Mark Knopfler.. i especially liked teh opening track.

Listen to soemthing called "Working on it" kix posterior.

How are you doing ?

Anonymous said...

good loors,

i don't know your eid ..could you send it to me at numberum tha..haven't talked in ages !!