17 October 2005

Clint Gets All Sympathetic With The Japanese

Hey guys, it's Donnie...So Clint Eastwood has been hard at work for months now shooting Flags Of Our Fathers, the story of the American soldiers who fought the Battle of Iwo Jima and then got a statue of themselves raising a flag. The script is adapted by Paul Haggis, who also adapted the highly overrated Million Dollar Baby for Eastwood last year.

Well, Eastwood has suddenly decided that while it's important to tell the story of these brave American soldiers, it's also important to tell both sides of the story. So, starting in February, Eastwood will begin filming of Lamps Before The Wind, which tells the story of the same battle, but told from the viewpoint of the Japanese and their honor-crazed officer class. The important distinction, according to Eastwood, is that the Japanese officers were willing to fight to the death because they were afraid of dishonor, whereas the Americans were more concerned with not getting fucking killed. Haggis was unavailable to write Lamps, resumably because he's working on the latest draft of Casino Royale, so those duties have fallen to aspiring writer (and his research assistant for Flags) Iris Yamashita.

The idea is for both flicks to be released into theaters simultaneously next fall, which I'm sure will make theater owners happy as it will encourage people to see both movies back to back and then make folks more likely to spend $9.50 on chicken fingers than $3.50 on popcorn. Then again, that's how theaters make all their money, so buy some food and help keep theaters in business.

As far as Eastwood's double feature...look, I wasn't really all that excited for Flags Of Our Fathers to be perfectly honest. I think that the war movie, specifically ones about WWII, needs to take a rest for a while, if only because no one seems to be doing anything different with it these days. (At least not till Tarantino finally gets moving on Inglorious Bastards.) I'd be more excited about this if it was going to be a fully-integrated two part movie experience, like using the same actors and seeing the same events from a different perspective. But in order to pull that off, I feel like you really have to plan that from the outset, as opposed to making one movie and then as you're finishing deciding to do the other half too.

Besides, I think Eastwood sometimes lacks vision as a director. I love Unforgiven, but Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby do nothing for me. My theory is that Eastwood is just not good at making those types of gritty, lower-class dramas, so maybe he'll be better at WWII epic. Who knows. Will I see them when they come out? Yeah, probably, and probably back-to-back. But I can't help but feel that we're just in store for a lot more of the same.


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