1.5, United States/Canada

Flags of Our Fathers

2006 / Clint Eastwood > What can I say? Paul Haggis is one of the most skillful writers in Hollywood when it comes to manipulative, contrived scripts that base their sole existence on every cliche in the book. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I did find myself having a tough time not walking out of this unnecessarily melodramatic drivel that just about drove me to laughter at many of its most “critical” points.

Flags of Our Fathers has a story behind it that could have been brilliantly approached with a level of subtlely and intelligence that would have made it a surefire Oscar candidate. Similar to Saving Private Ryan, it had the capability of being a poignant war allegory. However, Haggis (and arguably Eastwood) filled the film with enough sewage to destroy any message it could have represented.

This is the worst film I have seen in theatres this year. The war sequences, while beautifully done, were pointless and, amazingly, just boring. I cared about none of the characters, and there was only one good sequence of dialogue and two scenes where I felt any real emotion—which, coincidentally, where both contrived beyond belief. This is disappointment that I cannot explain. A great story mistold. One can only hope Letters From Iwo Jima does not suffer the same fate.