Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Benjamin Walker is Harlon Block in "Flags of Our Fathers"

Benjamin Walker is cast as Harlon Block in Flags of Our Fathers. Harlon is the Texas football player, anti-war Seventh Day Adventist, who with the rest of his high school team enlists in the Army to support his country in WW2. His mother is disappointed and afraid that he will be killed, but she bows to the inevitable. They are farmers in Texas in the forties. Harlon thinks that he may be killed and verbalizes that fear to his friend and fellow recruits.

When the time comes he acts with valor and puts the lives of his buddies and countrymen above his own life. He is a hero.

When he is misidentified in the famous photograph, his mother's surity that it is Harlon in the picture forms one important subtext in the second half of the "Flags" movie. For the three surviving soldiers, this turns out to be the more important part of the narrative, as they wrench themselves from the flashbulbs of "heroism" to set the record straight, and communicate that to Harlon's mother.

What a story! What heroism! What Marines endured on Iwo! What a picture Mr. Eastwood has put into the minds of Americans! Whoa!