Clint Eastwood

5.0 Play Misty for me (1971)
5.0 Breezy (1973)
6.5 High Plains Drifter (1973)
5.0 The Eiger sanction (1975)
5.0 The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
5.0 Bronco Billy (1980)
5.0 Firefox (1982)
5.0 Honkytonk Man (1982)
6.5 Sudden Impact (1983)
5.0 Tightrope (1984)
5.0 City Heat (1984)
5.0 Pale Rider (1985)
5.0 Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
5.0 Bird (1988)
5.0 White Hunter Black Heart (1990)
5.0 The Rookie (1990)
6.6 Unforgiven (1992)
6.0 A Perfect World (1993)
5.0 The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
5.0 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
5.0 Absolute Power (1997)
6.6 True Crime (1999)
6.8 Space Cowboys (2000)
5.5 Blood Work (2002)
6.8 Mystic River (2003)
7.0 Million Dollar Baby (2004)
6.0 Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
5.5 Gran Torino (2008)
5.0 Changeling (2008)
6.0 Invictus (2009)
6.2 Hereafter (2010)
6.0 J. Edgar (2011)
5.5 American Sniper (2014)
5.0 Jersey Boys (2014)
5.0 Sully (2016)
6.5 Mule (2018)
6.0 Richard Jewell (2019)

As an actor, Clint Eastwood coined the cryptic metaphysical anti-hero of the epic spaghetti-western trilogy A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), directed by Sergio Leone. Nothing he did afterwards ever matched the intensity of those characters. He played a similar role in Ted Post's Hang 'Em High (1968), but he then he started a whole new career as the rebellious cop in Don Siegel's Dirty Harry (1971), a role that he reprised in Magnum Force (1973) and The Enforcer (1976). He played also in other Don Siegel films: Coogan's Bluff (1968), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), The Beguiled (1971) and Escape from Alcatraz (1979). The "Dirty Harry" series ended with The Dead Pool (1988). His last memorable character was the heroic retired cop of In the Line of Fire (1993). He embodied a very North-American form of rugged individualism.

Clint Eastwood, a much better actor than director, directed diligently stereotypical Hollywood films, notably High Plains Drifter (1973), Unforgiven (1992), and Space Cowboys (2000) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).

More mediocre were Play Misty for me (1971), Breezy (1973), The Eiger sanction (1975), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Bronco Billy (1980), Firefox (1982), Honkytonk Man (1982), Sudden Impact (1983), the fourth "Dirty Harry" movie, with the stereotypical character Harry Callahan and the famous sentence "go ahead, make my day", Tightrope (1984), City Heat (1984), Pale Rider (1985), Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Bird (1988), White Hunter Black Heart (1990), The Rookie (1990), A Perfect World (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Absolute Power (1997), True Crime (1999), Blood Work (2002), Mystic River (2003), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Changeling (2008), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Jersey Boys (2014), ...

American Sniper (2014) is a mediocre, painfully slow, war movie that indulges in foul language and third-rate domestic melodrama; an endless litany of shootouts with a cryptic ending that probably simply means that Eastwood didn't know how to end it.

The sniper of an elite unit deployed in Iraq is about to shoot a child that is carrying a weapon towards a military convoy. A flashback shows Chris being raised by a tough gun-loving father who taught him to fight like a wolf. Chris enrolled to avenge the terrorist attacks against US embassies in Africa. The flashback shows his training and his love affair with Taya, who becomes his wife just before his deployment in Iraq. Now the film rolls back to the first scene, where Chris the seasoned sniper is aiming at the child. The child starts running to throw the grenade, Chris kills him. The woman grabs the grenade and throw it at the troops. That is Chris' daily life. He kills a suicide bombers and insurgents. His fellow soldiers respect him. His wife is pregnant and misses him, but he is assigned to a special mission to capture the most wanted terrorist, nicknamed "Butcher" because of what he does to his victims. Chris' truck is attacked by terrorists just when his wife calls to tell him that she's expecting a boy. The Butcher gets away killing the males of the family that tried to help Chris' unit. The mission failed and the soldiers are sent back home. His wife is happy but Chris is not: after his baby is born Chris can't wait to go back to Iraq and find the butcher. On the way Chris meets his younger brother, who also enrolled and is a lot less excited about war. Despite being betrayed and ambushed, Chris' unit finally kills the Butcher. Back home, Chris meets a war veteran with an amputated leg in bar: Chris saved his life. A second child has been born to Taya. Chris gets angry at the hospital that his daughter is not taken care of. His wife doesn't recognize him. He is soon back in Iraq, surviving more ambushes and shootouts. More of his soldiers die. Back home, he attends a funeral with his wife of soldier who lost concentration because of a letter he received. Chris has become a legendary sniper. His wife is angry that Chris does not quit to stay with his family. Iraq: almost kills a child who picked up a rocket launcher His legend grows bigger, but one day Chris, surrounded by enemies, calls his wife that he wants to go home. A helicopter rescues his group. She hears the shooting in the phone and doesn't know if he escaped alive. Chris is in fact left behind, but eventually saved. When he is sent back home, he spends hours in a bar before facing his wife. At home he still hears the war, staring at the television that is not on. Chris overreacts at a barbeque when a dog attacks a child. He is haunted by all the guys he didn't save. One day he goes hunting with his son, and now his wife is proud of him. However, he gets killed by a veteran and many people attend his funeral.

Then came even more mediocre films: Sully (2016), The 15:17 to Paris (2018), etc.

The Mule (2018), based on a true story, is a simple melodrama but also one of his best.

Earl is an elderly man who is famous among horticulturist. In fact, he has neglected his family all his life for his work. His daughter stopped talking to him after he missed her wedding, and his wife left him to leave with her. He does show up when his granddaughter invites him to her wedding rehearsal, but has to leave when his presence upsets his daughter and his wife. He is actually homeless, his home having been foreclosed after ecommerce ruined his old-fashioned business. At the wedding a stranger tips him about an easy job for which the only requirement is to be able to drive. He drives to the address and is welcomed in a garage protected by gunmen. They load something in his truck and tell him where to deliver. For each delivery he is paid handsomely and soon can afford to buy a new truck. He quickly realizes that he is transporting cocaine for a Mexican drug cartel. He makes enough money to buy back his home and to help a friend renovate his dancehall. He also pays for his granddaughter's wedding and school. Two gangsters come from Mexico to control him but he shows them that he is smarter than they are when a cop stops them for a routine check. Earl is so efficient and reliable that he gets invited to a party of the gang's powerful boss. Meanwhile, the FBI convince one of the members of the cartel to become an informer and thus begin to learn details of how the cartel operates, including the existence of a mysterious delivery man. Following a raid by the FBI on the cartel, a low-level thug assassinates the boss and becomes the new boss. Aware that someone is betrayin them, they resort to brutal manners. A group of thugs takes Earl to a secluded place and show him the corpse of someone who disobeyed. The informer has alerted the cops that a black pick-up truck is making the deliveries, but there are many such trucks on the road. The cops actually stop at the right hotel but ignore the old man while busting an arrogant asshole who has a little bit of cocaine, but not the large cargo that they are after. Later the cop in charge of the operation has a coffee at the same restaurant where Earl takes his coffee. Earl and the cop start talking about their families and Earl lectures the cop on not missing anniversaries like he did all his life. Earl resumes his journey but his granddaughter calls from the hospital that his ex-wife is terminally ill. He finds excuses not to show up (he risks his life if he doesn't deliver the drugs) but then abandons his mission and drives to his daughter's place, where his ex-wife is resting in critical conditions. She confesses that she is happy to see him. He tells her the truth about how he is making money but she doesn't believe him. He stays until she dies and this gesture reconciles him with his daughter, who has not spoken to him since he missed her wedding. After the funeral, he admits to his daughter that he has been a terrible father. Then he resumes hi journey. He has been missing for a few days and the cartel is looking for him. They spot him on the highway and chase him. He tells them the truth of why he disappeared. The boss orders that he be killed, but the thugs spare his life and only beat him up. This time the cops are eavesdropping on the conversation and therefore pinpoint his location. A helicopter tracks the truck and the cops soon close in on him. He is arrested and the cop in charge is surprised to realize that the mysterious delivery man is actually the old man who lectured him on family duties. At the trial Earl pleads guilty to all charges. In prison he takes care of the garden.
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