[Screen It]

 

"LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA"
(2006) (Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Extreme Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor Moderate None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Mild Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Japanese military forces prepare for the American invasion of Iwo Jima in WWII.
PLOT:
It's 1944 and the Japanese military is preparing for the expected American invasion of Iwo Jima, a pivotal island that could be used as a base for launching air attacks against mainland Japan. Accordingly, General Kuribayashi (KEN WATANABE) has been sent there to examine the defensive preparations. His unorthodox but educated changes don't sit well with likes of Admiral Ohsugi (NOBUMASA SAKAGAMI), Lieutenant Ito (SHIDOU NAKAMURA) and others.

Yet, former baker turned soldier Saigo (KAZUNARI NINOMIYA) is grateful when the general stops Captain Tanida (TAKUMI BANDO) from physically punishing him and his friend Kashiwara (TAKASHI YAMAGUCHI) for sounding less than patriotic. Saigo -- who spends his down time writing letters to his wife Hanako (NAE) -- and friend Nozaki (YUKI MATSUZAKI) wonder if new arrival Shimizu (RYO KASE) is there to spy on them.

Kuribayashi, however, is happy to see former Olympic champion equestrian Baron Nishi (TSUYOSHI IHARA) who's there to lead the tank brigade. With time running out before the Americans arrive, they and others try to get the island ready for the inevitable invasion, a battle that will take weeks and test the resolve of both sides.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those interested in military or historical films might be interested, but it's otherwise unlikely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For graphic war violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KEN WATANABE plays the wise, intelligent and compassionate, but resolute general whose unorthodox military plans don't sit well with the other top officers. He must put up with discontent among his ranks as well as supply shortages and other complications.
  • KAZUNARI NINOMIYA plays a former baker turned soldier who isn't happy to be on the island, misses his wife, and must try to survive the invasion and prolonged assault on the island.
  • TSUYOSHI IHARA plays a former Olympic champion equestrian who arrives on Iwo Jima to lead the tank division and becomes Kuribayashi's friend there.
  • RYO KASE plays a new arrival on the island who Saigo and others think might be there to spy on them.
  • SHIDOU NAKAMURA plays a Japanese officer who isn't happy with Kuribayashi or the likes of Saigo, both of which he believes undermine their chances of winning.
  • TAKUMI BANDO plays the stern captain who's constantly reprimanding and belittling Saigo for his shortcomings.
  • YUKI MATSUZAKI and TAKASHI YAMAGUCHI play other soldiers who must contend with the same issues along with Saigo.
  • NOBUMASA SAKAGAMI plays a veteran admiral who isn't pleased about being on Iwo Jima or the way in which Kuribayashi is altering their readiness preparations.
  • NAE plays Saigo's pregnant wife, seen in flashbacks, who worries about his safety once he gets his military orders.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 2 subtitled "s" words, but only a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases, while one benign, but sexually related comment is made.

    Violence includes wartime fighting and related deaths by gunfire, explosions, suicide via grenades and more, while the sound of a dog being shot in a flashback is heard. Some of those scenes have very bloody and gory results, and those scenes and moments of peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various bad attitudes are present, as is some drinking and smoking. Some scatological material is also present, as are thematic elements related to war and more.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camerawork in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • About something he drinks as a meal, Saigo says it's better than sake.
  • Kuribayashi asks Nishi to have dinner with him that night, adding that he feels like a drink. We then later see them having Johnny Walker before eating, and then having more.
  • We see a bottle of whisky by Kuribayashi, and he asks Admiral Ohsugi if he cares for a drink, but doesn't get an answer.
  • In a flashback, people at a dinner hold drinks.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We hear a slight fart from one soldier (from dysentery).
  • We hear some intestinal sounds from Kashiwara and he then says, "I really need to go."
  • Nishi finds his horse lying wounded in its stall, with a bloody wound on its side (from a previous air attack).
  • Saigo thinks another soldier is just sitting there following an aerial attack, but when he comes around to the front of him, he sees that half the dead man's face is all torn up (seen in a mostly monochromatic view).
  • A soldier states, "I need to take a leak," but we don't see that occur.
  • Captain Tanida states that the "sh*t pot is full," and that someone needs to empty it. He then picks Saigo for the job, and we then see him carrying that bucket, reacting to the smell, with the Capt. stating that if anything happens to the bucket, "You'll be carrying our sh*t with your hands."
  • An explosion hits one man, and we then see that his arm has been blown off, with blood squirting out from the open wound (he then dies).
  • Realizing they have no chance, various Japanese soldiers commit suicide with hand grenades. They pull the pins, slam the grenades to their helmets, and then hold them to their chests, resulting in them being blown apart inside a cave. We see the bloody blasts, and then various bloody body parts and remains. An officer then shoots himself in the head, with bloody splattering onto Saigo.
  • We see blood squirt onto a cave wall when a man is stabbed with bayonets.
  • Ito goes off to throw himself under a tank (wearing several explosives), but then finds a number of dead bodies, smears the blood from one onto his own face, and then lies down with them, camouflaging himself.
  • We see various dead bodies on the ground, some of which are bloody.
  • A wounded American has some blood on his chest and face.
  • We see bloody dressing on a wounded American, but then see that he's dead.
  • Explosions go off near a cave, wounding an officer in the face (we see some blood on him, including trickles down his face).
  • A guard turns and zips up his pants, suggesting he was urinating, all as another man pretends to be suffering from dysentery, acting as if he has to go to the bathroom.
  • We see some blood on a man's shirt immediately after he's shot dead.
  • An explosion goes off near an officer, injuring and bloodying him.
  • An officer signals for a subordinate to behead him due to a bad injury. The man raises a sword, but is suddenly shot from a distance before he can swing the sword, with his blood splattering onto the injured officer's face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Depending on one's viewpoint, the Japanese or American soldiers could have bad attitudes.
  • Kashiwara tells a white lie to Captain Tanida to protect Saigo.
  • A mail officer opens and reads Saigo's outgoing mail, suggesting changes due to the government censoring of mail.
  • One Japanese leader says his men should target American medics, as the others will try to protect them (thus meaning they'll be easier targets).
  • Captain Tanida has a bad attitude toward Saigo (in various scenes).
  • We see a flashback to Shimizu with a superior who tells him to dispose of (kill) a barking dog. Shimizu pretends to do so, and lies to his superior about that, followed by that officer discovering the ruse and killing the dog himself.
  • Various soldiers and officers disobey orders.
  • Rather than follow orders, an American soldier shoots one Japanese prisoner dead, aims his rifle at another (we see the prisoner's POV of the barrel aimed at him), and then shoots and kills him.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, particularly younger ones and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We hear that a character has died from dysentery (a friend of Saigo's, a development that might be upsetting to some viewers).
  • Nishi finds his horse lying wounded in its stall, with a bloody wound on its side (from a previous air attack).
  • Saigo thinks another soldier is just sitting there following an aerial attack, but when he comes around to the front of him, he sees that half the dead man's face is all torn up (seen in a mostly monochromatic view).
  • Soldiers wait inside caves as many explosions go off above them.
  • Kuribayashi tells his men not to expect to return home alive.
  • American Navy ships begin shelling the island, with Saigo scrambling to get the latrine bucket he dropped. He then sees an unexploded shell half-buried in the ground near him and then rushes back inside the cave.
  • Kuribayashi has his men wait as American forces storm the beach. He then gives the order and his men open fire on the Americans with machine guns and artillery. Various Americans are hit, but there isn't any blood. As the attack continues, an American blasts flames from a flamethrower into a pillbox, setting two Japanese soldiers on fire. Both are then shot dead.
  • An explosion hits one man, and we then see that his arm has been blown off, with blood squirting out from the open wound (he then dies).
  • Realizing they have no chance, various Japanese soldiers commit suicide with hand grenades. They pull the pins, slam the grenades to their helmets, and then hold them to their chests, resulting in them being blown apart inside a cave. We see the bloody blasts, and then various bloody body parts and remains. An officer then shoots himself in the head, with bloody splattering onto Saigo who then tries to flee, but Shimizu aims his gun at him for being a dissenter. Saigo then manages to talk Shimizu out of shooting him.
  • Looking for a way out of a cave, a Japanese soldier finds a vertical shaft in the ceiling, but is suddenly blasted with a flamethrower from above. He's on fire and then a grenade drops down next to him and explodes.
  • Japanese soldiers repeatedly punch one captured American, and then repeatedly stab him with their bayonets. We see the motion but not the impact (although we see one already in his clothed chest), but do hear him scream and see blood squirt onto an adjacent cave wall.
  • Ito pulls his sword on Saigo and Shimizu, has them get on their knees, and then raises his sword, but Kuribayashi stops him from executing them.
  • Kuribayashi hears that no reinforcements are coming to help them.
  • We see a flashback to Shimizu with a superior who tells him to dispose of (kill) a barking dog, despite a mother and her two kids being there. Shimizu is reluctant, but knows he must follow orders, so he goes around back, takes the dog from them, and then holds his gun to its head. However, he can't shoot it, so he fires a shot into the air, telling them to take the dog inside and keep it quiet. However, as he walks away with his superior, they hear the dog bark, prompting the officer to go inside and shoot the dog (we only hear the shot as well as the mother's scream). The officer then punches Shimizu to the ground and repeatedly kicks him there.
  • An American soldier shoots one Japanese prisoner dead, aims his rifle at another (we see the prisoner's POV of the barrel aimed at him), and then shoots and kills him.
  • We hear that the losing Japanese forces don't have any more food, water, or ammo.
  • An officer signals for a subordinate to behead him due to a bad injury. The man raises a sword, but is suddenly shot from a distance before he can swing the sword, with his blood splattering onto the injured officer's face.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Machine guns/Artillery/Various Explosives/Bayonets/Flamethrowers/Mortars/Rockets/Hand Grenades: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Kuribayashi carries a ceremonial sword and later leads his troops into battle with that. That sword is later nearly used to behead a wounded man upon his request for that action, but it doesn't occur.
  • We see a flashback to Kuribayashi being a captain and receiving a ceremonial Colt revolver from American officers.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "The sh*t pot is full," "Damn this island," "Stupid," "I think your general has gone mad," "I need to take a leak," "Imbecile," "Don't sit here like rats" and "Damn you."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Looking for a way out of a cave, a Japanese soldier finds a vertical shaft in the ceiling, but is suddenly blasted with a flamethrower from above.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "s" words and 7 damns.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Saigo writes/verbalizes about there being rumors of Nishi's womanizing ways, but adds there are no women left on the island to woo.
  • SMOKING
  • A few soldiers (Japanese and American) smoke in a few scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a flashback to Saigo getting his war induction notice, prompting his pregnant wife to be upset, saying that the men never come home from war.
  • We hear that Saigo has not yet met his baby girl.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The battle of Iwo Jima.
  • How soldiers view their enemies, and what they're told about them by their government and/or superiors.
  • WWII.
  • How dissenters or those simply with a difference in opinion are viewed and treated by the military.
  • Dysentery.
  • A mail officer opens and reads Saigo's outgoing mail, suggesting changes due to the government censoring of mail.
  • The notion of dying for one's country.
  • Kuribayashi tells his men not to expect to return home alive.
  • Suicide.
  • Nishi shoots one American soldier, wounding him, but then has his men treat him (hoping to get info out of him).
  • Shimizu admits he knew nothing about the enemy, saying he thought they were cowards, and was taught they were savages.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see Captain Tanida whipping Saigo and Kashiwara with a rod of some sort (for supposedly being unpatriotic), with Kuribayashi stopping him.
  • American planes strafe the island with machine guns (hitting some soldiers, wounding or killing them, but without any blood), while they also drop many bombs, resulting in explosions causing property damage. Japanese soldiers fire back with various machine guns (we see a plume of smoke from one plane off in the distance).
  • Nishi finds his horse lying wounded in its stall, with a bloody wound on its side (from a previous air attack).
  • We see more bombs dropping on the island.
  • American Navy ships begin shelling the island, with Saigo scrambling to get the latrine bucket he dropped. He then sees an unexploded shell half-buried in the ground near him and then rushes back inside the cave.
  • Kuribayashi has his men wait as American forces storm the beach. He then gives the order and his men open fire on the Americans with machine guns and artillery. Various Americans are hit, but there isn't any blood. As the attack continues, an American blasts flames from a flamethrower into a pillbox, setting two Japanese soldiers on fire. Both are then shot dead.
  • An explosion hits one man, and we then see that his arm has been blown off, with blood squirting out from the open wound (he then dies).
  • One American is hit by handgun fire, while another is hit by a nearby explosion.
  • Realizing they have no chance, various Japanese soldiers commit suicide with hand grenades. They pull the pins, slam the grenades to their helmets, and then hold them to their chests, resulting in them being blown apart inside a cave. We see the bloody blasts, and then various bloody body parts and remains. An officer then shoots himself in the head, with bloody splattering onto Saigo who then tries to flee, but Shimizu aims his gun at him for being a dissenter. Saigo then manages to talk Shimizu out of shooting him.
  • Looking for a way out of a cave, a Japanese soldier finds a vertical shaft in the ceiling, but is suddenly blasted with a flamethrower from above. He's on fire and then a grenade drops down next to him and explodes.
  • Japanese soldiers repeatedly punch one captured American, and then repeatedly stab him with their bayonets. We see the motion but not the impact (although we see one already in his clothed chest), but do hear him scream and see blood squirt onto an adjacent cave wall.
  • Machine gun fire hits some Japanese soldiers, but there isn't any blood.
  • There's another gun battle where many soldiers are hit (and some explosions go off near others), but there isn't any blood.
  • We see more combat, including a rocket being fired into a tank (that explodes), while more soldiers are shot.
  • Nishi shoots one American soldier, wounding him, but then has his men treat him (hoping to get info out of him).
  • We see a flashback to Shimizu with a superior who tells him to dispose of (kill) a barking dog, despite a mother and her two kids being there. Shimizu is reluctant, but knows he must follow orders, so he goes around back, takes the dog from them, and then holds his gun to its head. However, he can't shoot it, so he fires a shot into the air, telling them to take the dog inside and keep it quiet. However, as he walks away with his superior, they hear the dog bark, prompting the officer to go inside and shoot the dog (we only hear the shot as well as the mother's scream). The officer then punches Shimizu to the ground and repeatedly kicks him there.
  • Explosions go off near a cave, wounding an officer in the face (we see some blood on him, including trickles down his face). It then appears that he's been blinded as he wraps material across his eyes like a blindfold.
  • We see an injured officer moving his bare foot up near a rifle's trigger, and then hear the suicidal shot (as the view is then outside the cave he's in).
  • Shimizu and another soldier try to flee, but an officer shoots the other man in the back, killing him.
  • An American soldier shoots one Japanese prisoner dead, aims his rifle at another (we see the prisoner's POV of the barrel aimed at him), and then shoots and kills him.
  • More Japanese soldiers are hit by machine gun fire. Another is shot and falls with a grenade in his hand. He falls, and the grenade explodes.
  • Americans open fire on approaching Japanese forces, mowing down some, while others engage in hand to hand combat, including soldiers struggling and hitting others with their rifles (at night in the fog and/or smoke).
  • An explosion goes off near an officer, injuring and bloodying him.
  • An officer signals for a subordinate to behead him due to a bad injury. The man raises a sword, but is suddenly shot from a distance before he can swing the sword, with his blood splattering onto the injured officer's face.
  • An officer shoots himself with a revolver (we only see his hand, and then it dropping the gun from the fatal wound).
  • Saigo try to hit various Americans with a shovel. They avoid that, he falls, and one American hits him with his rifle butt.



  • Reviewed January 17, 2007 / Posted January 19, 2007

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Halloween Kills] [Mass] [The Last Duel] [Needle in a Timestack] [No Time To Die] [Lamb]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2021 Screen It, Inc.