Period: 1945 - WW2 - Pacific Theatre - Battle of Iwo Jima
Synopsis: The movie follows the wartime lives of the surviving soldiers who raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi, which was snapped by a photographer and instantly immortalized in the American press of the time. The movie uses flashbacks to the battle, mixed with the homefront experiences of the flag rasiers who had to be the face of war heroes to keep America going in the war effort, and their inner conflicts about doing this.
Overall opinion: I thought this was a very thoughtful movie that had a great story to tell. It's a different point of view than you would find in Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. I have wonder why the Pacific Theatre movies seem to be more cerebral than other types of WW2 movies. The Thin Red Line was the same way -- good, but very thoughtful. The movie has enough combat to satisfy the action hounds, so it's good all the way 'round. The only twtwo critisms of the movies I can offer are the imposition of current sensibilities on the WW2 era, which seems to be a fairly consistent trap that many filmmakers doing historical flicks fall into, and the slow pacing of the story.
Good reenactor film?: The authenticity of Flags of Our Fathers is great, and for the most part, everything seems to be correct. I'd put it up there in material quality to SPR or BoB, the only thing the movie really lacks is the 'Spielberg touch' that we're all used to seeing. A collector or a real uniform and equipment buff could call what pieces weren't quite right, but for the average reenactor like myself, it looks great.
How does it stack up? Flags of Our Fathers is a worthy movie, and is worth the money to see it on the big screen. Not as loud and violent as Saving Private Ryan, it still conveys the horror of war, and the effect on its survivors. Unlike SPR, it has a fairly well integrated plot that smoothly carries you from the modern day to Iwo Jima to the American homefront during the war.