Eastwood’s latest film is gorgeous but difficult at times to watch. The amazing battle scenes result in ugly carnage – a reminder of the consequences of war. The consequences of American victory are not addressed in this film, and were not the point of Eastwood’s less well received “Flags of Our Fathers.” Therefore, this sorrowful yet beautiful film may not satisfy those looking for the bigger picture of national and global implications of combat. Instead, what Eastwood gives us here is a picture of men, created in the image of God, who, for the most part, face death with blind obedience to their leader and country.

“Long live the Emperor!” the soldiers shout moments before their deaths – an empty rallying cry for the losing side of battle. The sadness the viewer feels is not so much because time has vindicated the other side of that fight, but because the obedience on display is misguided and destructive – something to which everyone can relate.

AUDIENCE:  Adults

CAUTIONS:

  • Language:  Some subtitled profanity.

  • Violence:  Wartime fighting, including attacks from air, hand-to-hand combat, grenade explosions, gunfire, shooting of deserters, bayoneting, severed limbs, burned and disfigured bodies; a horse dies; a dog is shot.

  • Suicide:  Treated as a noble form of death; several men fall on their own grenades, another shoots himself.

  • Sex/Nudity:  None.

  • Drinking:  Some drinking and smoking.

  • Religion:  Some fleeting verbal references to God, and to the “other side”; prayer for the victory of the “Empire”; mention of a day when men will pray for the dead soldiers’ souls.