The Men Behind the Picture
Flags of our Fathers
Review by Ross Anthony

Opening with firepower reminiscent of "Saving Private Ryan," Flags has a hard time finding focus. During the first act, the dialogue and direction play too much like old hokey films. Part of the problem is that the acting on the whole is mediocre or less. The strong actors don't step up, and the incidental characters don't spark. The film takes quite a while to find itself.

Despite a robust military storming the beaches of Iwo Jima, the film still doesn't spark until John Slattery's commanding appearance as Bud Gerber. Bud commandeers the three flag holders in a PR meeting stateside and explains to them a new incarnation of serving their country. Slattery injects momentum.

From there on in, the film blossoms, flashing back, flashing forward, nestling into a nice beat for its story telling. And the story is an interesting one, the one behind the picture -- the picture of six soldiers hoisting up the American flag on Japan soil. As with most good stories, a picture doesn't tell the half of it. That said, I appreciated the photo collage of the actual flag-raisers that ran along with the ending credits.

The film is well cast with good performances from Ryan Phillippe and Adam Beach (as Ira). And though the production decidedly displays the gore of war, it's the bond of friendship that'll give you something warm to take home.

Producer Spielberg says of Director Eastwood: "'Lessness is Bestness' he likes to say -- and that applies especially to his own ego and his dependence on trust. Trust -- in his cast, in his crew -- reflects Clint's own trust in himself, in his own instincts, whether he's casting or choosing material or setting up a shot."

Writer James Bradley says, "I never set out to write a book -- I set out to find out why my dad was silent... I decided to write the book when I realized that everyone knows the photo, but nobody knows the story."

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  • Flags of our Fathers. Copyright © 2006.
  • Starring Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper, Jamie Bell.
  • Directed by Clint Eastwood.
  • Screenplay by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Hggis. Based on the book by James Bradley with Ron Powers.
  • Produced by Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks/WB.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 23-Oct-2006 11:23:17 PDT