I choose not to see Flags of our Fathers first. This is because Letters from Iwo Jima is supposed to be the best one. I am a big time fan of Clintie and most of what he has done. However sometimes there is a "flop" like Mystic River (While a top notch movie, it fails to really get its story trough) so I am always a bit skeptic to see his films. Mainly because I don't like to be disappointed.
Letters from Iwo Jima is a true pleasure to watch. The anti-violence message Clintie has tried to tell us since "Unforgiven" has now been even more perfected than in Million Dollar babe. While there is no usual Clinite "hard-ass" here - the movie has all the small quirks that puts a smile on your face.
The camerawork, the cutting, the flow, the story - everything is almost perfect, and I smile all the way through the movie. Sometimes I even fall in total laughter because he (Clintie) puts his anti-violence messages in such a superior ways.
Now of course this movie is a American movie and no matter how much it tries to tell the story from Japanese point of view I think it will probably fail on a few places. It would be nice to know what the Japanese themselves think about this.
The one let down of the movie is that it doesn't have a normal story line. While the first part is the common "get to know the people" it continues straight into war mode and it never really builds in a classic fashion. I think this is because Letters from Iwo Jima is more of an Epic movie (altough in a very sorth amount of real time) and therefore the story is also more complex and more like the big time epic stories.
There are few directors left that knows how to make such a good movie like this and unlike most of the oldies Clint Eastwood never seems to fade but just gets better and better.
There are only reasons to see this movie and no reasons not too.