Branded as the companion film to Letters from Iwo Jima, I had to see this film after “Letters…” made quite an impression.
I will admit it failed to have the same effect that the “Letters…” had on me. But then, before we make any conclusion, both the films are very different, primarily in presentation. In “Letters…” you can’t but help making a direct connection with the characters, the language (the entire film is in Japanese) is no barrier. It is direct. “Flags…” on the other hand is a narrative of sorts. Someone is telling the story (I don’t mean the literal presentation, i.e. the narration by the heroes), but it is like we are being told about the heroes.
Also the non-linear presentation in “Flags…”, while effective, takes some time to settle down, sink in, especially if you don’t quite know the true story. I wonder if the experience would have been different if I had seen “Flags…” before I saw “Letters…”
Watchable, for sure, however.