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Director: Clint Eastwood     Starring: Ken Watanabe
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Learn more about Letters From Iwo Jima (Blu-ray):

Format: Blu-Ray DVD
Sku: 204385795
UPC: 085391112884
UPC 14: 00085391112884
Rating: Game Rating Code
 
The Powerful Companion to Flags of Our Fathers.
From Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood comes the untold story of the Japanese soldiers who defended their homeland against invading American forces during World War II. With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima itself, the unprecedented tactics of General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai) and his men transform what was predicted to be a swift defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat. Their sacrifices, struggles, courage and compassion live on in the taut, gripping film Rolling Stone calls "unique and unforgettable."

"...a sorrowful and savagely beautiful elegy that can stand in the company of the greatest antiwar movies.  David Ansen, NewsWeek
"Daring and significant...  Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"...profound, magisterial, and gripping...  Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Taken together, Eastwood's masterworks - two of the best films of 2006 - may be Hollywood's last word on World War II.  Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"...the peak achievement in Eastwood's hallowed career.  Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Another masterpiece from Clint Eastwood.  Richard Corliss, Time
"Eloquent, bloody, and daringly simple.  Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Editor's Note
Clint Eastwood's companion piece to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is again set during World War II. But in LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, he looks at the war from the Japanese perspective, using Japanese dialogue. With American forces on their way, General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe, THE LAST SAMURAI) arrives on the island to find his troops woefully under-trained and hopelessly outmatched. Japanese pop and television star Kazunari Ninomiya plays Saigo, a young soldier who asks, "Am I digging my own grave?" as he creates trenches. With no hope of reinforcements, these men have little hope of leaving the island alive.

Eastwood and director of photography Tom Stern paint their picture in a palette of taupes and grays. The landscape of the volcanic island is desolate, providing a hellish experience for the stationed soldiers but a stark beauty for the audience. With this bleak setting, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a powerful ode to duty in dire circumstances. General Kuribayashi and Saigo provide the emotional center of the film, giving a glimpse into the minds of both seasoned officers and drafted novices. Eastwood doesn't deal in simple heroes and villains; these characters are sympathetic and real, whether their motives are pride, fear, or loyalty to their country. Though only the Academy-Award-nominated Watanabe is a familiar face to American audiences, each of the actors involved displays his experience working in Japanese film, television, and theater. The battle scenes are breathtaking and brutal, but it's the actors who are the core of the film. The picture has the standard tropes found in any modern war film, like verbal abuse by a superior and battle scenes filled with severed limbs. But Eastwood goes beyond the war-movie boilerplate with this impressive film that deserves every accolade it earns.

Features

Video Features Widescreen, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled

Technical Info


Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Warner
Video Release Date Release Date: 5/22/2007
Video Play Time Running Time: 140 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2006
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 111288
Video UPC UPC: 00085391112884
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: Japanese
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: Japanese
Video Subtitle Available Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Widescreen  2.40:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review Letters from Iwo Jima - DVD
By: Chris Barsanti filmcritic.com DVD Reviews
Published on: 5/11/2007 5:12 PM
In his landmark book of military history The Face of Battle, John Keegan did something extraordinarily rare for his field when describing a battle -- he didn't just tell us how many forces fought in what manner at a certain time, he told us what it was like for those soldiers. Keegan knew it wasn't just important to know how British archers defeated the French knights at Agincourt, but also that prior to the epic battle the British had been waiting for their better-armed and horse-mounted enemy, on foot, in several inches of deep mud, freezing from the cold and aching with hunger from a lack of food. Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima has just such a similarly humane touch about it....read the full review
Expert Review Letters From Iwo Jima - DVD
By: TV and Film Guy Blogcritics.org Reviews
Published on: 5/21/2007 5:17 PM
The film centers on General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe), a general recently arrived on the island of Iwo Jima, who has the task of preparing his troops for the upcoming battle against American forces. Kuribayashi has an advantage in his planning that many of his troops lack -- he spent several years in the United States and thus understands more of the U.S. psyche than do his compatriots. ...read the full review
Expert Review Letters from Iwo Jima - DVD Review
By: Ed Perkis Cinema Blend DVD Reviews
Published on: 7/17/2007 11:14 AM
The use of a Japanese point-of-view for the movie isn't as groundbreaking as it seems. It still pushes the same themes seen in almost all recent war movies. That the enemy is just like you; a guy with a wife and an unborn kid, a commander who wants to both do his duty and protect his men, a man who did so much before this battle and will never do anything after it. Eastwood doesn't create a new type of war film or even expand the current genre; he just sings right off of the current hymnal in a voice true and clear. ...read the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Hiroshi Watanabe
Video Cast Info Kazunari Ninomiya
Video Cast Info Ken Watanabe
Video Cast Info Tsuyoshi Ihara
Video Cast Info Clint Eastwood - Director
Video Cast Info Gary Roach - Editor
Video Cast Info Henry Bumstead - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Iris Yamashita - Screenplay
Video Cast Info James J. Murakami - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Joel Cox - Editor
Video Cast Info Kyle Eastwood - Original Music By
Video Cast Info Michael Stevens - Original Music By
Video Cast Info Paul Haggis - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Paul Haggis - Based On Story By
Video Cast Info Steven Spielberg - Producer
Video Cast Info Tadamichi Kuribayashi - Based On Book By
Video Cast Info Tom Stern - Cinematographer
Video Cast Info Tsuyoko Yoshido - Based On Book By

Awards


Winner (2007)
   Video Award Name Golden Globe, Letters from Iwo Jima, Best Foreign Language Film

Nominee (2007)
   Video Award Name Golden Globe, Clint Eastwood, Best Director - Motion Picture

Winner (2007)
   Video Award Name Oscar, Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman, Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Nominee (2007)
   Video Award Name Oscar, Clint Eastwood, Best Achievement in Directing
   Video Award Name Oscar, Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis, Best Writing, Original Screenplay
   Video Award Name Oscar, Clint Eastwood, et. al., Best Motion Picture of the Year

Professional Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"[P]rofound, magisterial, and gripping....LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA enthralls in the audacity of its simplicity." -- Grade: A 12/22/2006 p.57

Rolling Stone
Ranked #3 in Rolling Stone's "The 10 Best Movies Of 2006" -- "[A] single, stinging portrait of war..." 12/28/2006 p.118

Rolling Stone
4 stars out of 4 -- "Eastwood's film burns into the memory by striving for authentic detail. The result is unique and unforgettable." 12/28/2006 p.121

Entertainment Weekly
Included in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Films Of The Year" -- "[A] war picture that honors every soldier everywhere..." 12/29/2006 102

Film Comment
Ranked #16 in Film Comment's "20 Best Films Of 2006." 01/01/2007 p.36

Uncut
5 stars out of 5 -- "Directed with fluency and grace, LETTERS...illuminates a desperately dark episode with rare insight and conviction." 03/01/2007 p.118

Sight and Sound
"[A]s a seasoned film-maker, he can render action -- especially sudden death or suicide -- as disorientating as it's startling." 03/01/2007 p.64

Total Film
3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he performances ensure an emotional connection....LETTERS seeks to humanise the other side in a way FLAGS never did..." 04/01/2007 p.37

Ultimate DVD
4 stars out of 5 -- "Eastwood treads a respectful and even-handed path." 08/01/2007 p.104

Wall Street Journal
"In a larger sense, it's the second, and artistically superior, half of a single epic film that springs from a single act of compassionate imagination..." 02/05/2010

ReelViews 8 of 10
Letters from Iwo Jima is a unique American-made war movie for at least two reasons: it depicts the battle from the perspective of the losers and it represents the United States as the "enemy." Coupled with Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima provides director Clint Eastwood's complete statement about the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. Although Flags of Our Fathers deals as much with how a photograph from the battle was used as propaganda on the home front as it does with the actual combat, Letters from Iwo Jima remains entrenched upon the island from start to finish (except for a few character-building flashbacks). In terms of its structure, this is more what we expect from a war movie than what Flags of Our Fathers offers. The only character common to both films is the island's rough terrain. - James Berardinelli

Rolling Stone 10 of 10
...Letters is quality from first frame to last, a war film that is almost a tone poem in how it reveals the minds and secret hearts of the Japanese soldiers defending the volcanic island of Iwo Jima against American forces over forty days of battle in 1945...Eastwood's direction here is a thing of beauty, blending the ferocity of the classic films of Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) with the delicacy and unblinking gaze of Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story)...The scenes of combat, shot in desaturated color on the beaches of Iceland by the gifted Tom Stern and edited with grit and grace by Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, gain in terror and complexity from what we learn of these men. We watch in horror as soldiers bang their helmets with live grenades, preferring suicide to surrender. Eastwood's film burns into the memory by striving for authentic detail. The result is unique and unforgettable. - Peter Travers

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