Now comes the awful part: watching people die, over and over again, is excruciating. It's terrible. It's saddening. The problem is it's also excruciatingly, saddeningly, terribly boring. And with the boredom comes guilt. How can the pain of others be so tedious? Well, just ask why we avoid watching the programmes about "starvation in Africa" - it's combination of helplessness and a basic human desire to be happy and amused, not miserable and nauseous.
The film is shot entirely in steely grey tones, presumably to emphasise the depressing subject matter and the fact that these scenes occur in the past. But the wash of the colour is also tiring on the eye, and doesn’t help alleviate the crushing sense of hopelessness.
Flags, unfortunately, doesn't always do much to sell itself. Yes, it does get its point across if you are forced to sit through it, but it goes on way too long. The scenes of life back home are stilted, dull and preachy. Here's a legitimate opportunity to show people how war and heroes are constructed and planned. Instead director Clint Eastwood delivers characters that seem to be typical of their time and nothing more - constructed, but not heroes. Racist, dutiful and obedient to authority figures, even when those figures have lousy ideas, like "run towards those bullets even if you know you have no chance of survival". Which shows that heroes are of their time, but humanity is everlasting. Good point, Clint.
But the point is lost in the overwhelming onslaught of unremitting, brilliantly filmed violence. You're likely to leave the cinema thinking " Why are people so evil? And is there any point finding an alternative to war, or caring, when people are so evil? " It's a difficult, and depressing question raised by a difficult and depressing film.
Critics are raving about this film. Audiences will not be.
- Jean Barker
What a brilliant idea for a film. But what an awfully depressing execution. So, heroes are constructed. So, war is terrible and violent. So, what’s new?
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Hands of Stone is a bland, unlikable portrayal of a real-life boxer that struggles to hit the highs of Rocky IV let alone Raging Bull or the original Rocky. Mark this one down as “for boxing fanatics only”. Read More »
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