Most movies, especially war movies, mythologize their subjects. Flags of Our Fathers does the opposite. In telling the story behind the famous World War II photo of Americans planting a flag on the island of Iwo Jima,
director Clint Eastwood means to deconstruct the symbolic power of the image itself. At times, it’s a challenge the filmmaker
can’t meet – he has difficulty structuring the
sprawling material and never delivers the staggering cinematic punch of Saving Private Ryan. Yet he still reminds us how
heroism, then and today, can be reduced to little more than a marketing gimmick, often at the expense of the heroes.