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
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),
Space Cowboys (2000)
Million Dollar Baby (2004).
More mediocre were
Play Misty for me (1971),
The Eiger sanction (1975),
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976),
Bronco Billy (1980),
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",
City Heat (1984),
Pale Rider (1985),
Heartbreak Ridge (1986),
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),
Gran Torino (2008),
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
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:
The 15:17 to Paris (2018),
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
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.