Vital Signs

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Flags of Our Fathers
Produced by Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, and Steven Spielberg
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by William Broyles, Jr., and Paul Haggis, from the book by James Bradley and Ron Powers
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures

Because I thoroughly enjoyed the book, because Clint Eastwood is the director, and because Marines crave movies about Marines, I had high hopes for the movie Flags of Our Fathers.  I was largely disappointed.  The screenplay is terribly uneven; so, too, is the direction.  Clint Eastwood is solely credited as director, but there are scenes so puerile and caricatured in nature that I would have sworn they had been directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie’s producer.  William Broyles, Jr., and Paul Haggis are credited with writing the screenplay.  This may explain much of the movie’s swings from good, to bad, to ugly.  I would like to think that the good is the product of Broyles, a Texan, a Marine veteran, and a regular guy; and the bad and ugly, of Haggis, a Canadian who describes himself as a daring artist who breaks all the rules.  I suspect Haggis takes himself a bit too seriously and forgets that his first duty is to tell a good story.  Someone did break all the rules in Flags: The story swings from the present to flashbacks to the future to reminiscences...

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