"Letters from Iwo Jima" Film Review

Essay by thezuluHigh School, 10th gradeA+, June 2009

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From award winning director, Clint Eastwood, comes the lost story of the Japanese soldiers, defending Iwo Jima. "Letters from Iwo Jima" is a film, entirely in Japanese depicting the Japanese perspective of the battle for the island of Iwo Jima. The Japanese experience is told from letters home to family and loved ones. General Kuribayashi(Ken Wantabe), is told to defend the island of Iwo Jima, which is essential to the protection of mainland Japan from American forces. Kuribayashi uses an atypical, untrained defense force that, while efficient, is occasionaly suicidal. The movie is summed up with Kuribayashi's phrase, "Do not expect to return home alive." which echoes through the letters that the main character, Saigo(Kazunari Ninomiya), a young baker forced into war, writes to his pregnant wife in mainland Japan. In his first letter home, Saigo writes about Kuribayashi's plan to dig a system of tunnels throughout Iwo Jima.

As Kuribayashi and his men dig in for a battle they are not certain they can win, they learn that despite wishing them well, headquarters at Tokyo will not be sending any reinforcements to the outnumbered troops.

From other letters sent home we learn about; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic champion; Shimizu (Ryo Kase), a young former military policeman who was ejected from a police academy and sent to fight an unwinnable war; and Lieutenant Ito (Shidou Nakamura), a martial man who would rather commit suicide than accept defeat. The motley group of soldiers fight, to the death, told that they should be honored for serving the dubious, "Empire of the Sun" A pivotal scene in the film is when Lieutenant Ito orders his men to commit suicide and embrace the theme of "Death before surrender"Overall, I enjoyed "Letters from Iwo Jima". I feel that...