LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a good film, and certainly a better film than Eastwood's other Iwo Jima film, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, but it's hardly the best film of the year. Once again, the battle scenes and sound design are very good (again with minimal use of music). The performances are excellent, and the story is good but a little simple.
However, the timeline and geography of the battle are very confusing as presented in the film. I know they are in tunnels most of the time, so it's tough to imply time and location, but the editing implies the battle took place overnight (it took a month) and that the characters walk a few hundred feet when they are in fact traversing the island.
It was interesting seeing this the day after the I saw the French/Algerian/Moroccan film DAYS OF GLORY. They are very similar films in many ways, although different countries and different continents, they are both foreign-language films about decisive battles in WWII. (And they could end up against each other in the Oscar foreign-language category.) Given that comparison, DAYS was the much better film, with better story and characters.