The filmography of Clint Eastwood as an actor is both essential and tricky, mainly because its relationship with violence and with the glorification of a certain type of masculinity. There is more to see some Twitter accounts pulling their face or characters like ‘dirty Harry‘ or the man with no name from the Dollar Trilogy Serge Leone to express their devotion to a more “incorrect” and “virile” kind of conception of man that they see as extinct today.
It is true that Eastwood’s own ideas of militant liberalism help, but the truth is that it does not stop being interesting as his career as a director has decided to take other courses. He even directed ‘sudden impact‘ to nuance Harry Calahan’s character a bit. The best films as a filmmaker have exposed that kind of masculinity and have pointed out its fractures as well as its futility. There is no film more essential in this sense than one of his masterpieces that we can watch on HBO Maxthe extraordinary ‘no forgiveness‘.
kill a man
In addition to directing, Eastwood stars in the film with some Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman Y Richard Harris that they usually accustom to excellence, but here they do something truly exceptional under the instructions of Clint. That they are all veteran faces help to varnish the film with that twilight touch that the director seeks to give to the genre that gave him so much as is the western.
The movie introduces us to an episode of violence, with two men cutting the face of a prostitute in a crude and terrifying way. Nobody seems to be doing justice after this tragedy, and external workers have to be used. Specifically, with the retired gunfighter William Munny, played by Eastwood, who after becoming a widower has dedicated himself exclusively to caring for his family and his farm.
But that retired life is not easy to maintain, and economic problems arise. Munny must accept the job of bringing these two men to justice in the company of an old partner and an inexperienced young man. But this return is not glorious or heroic, it is merely motivated by circumstances and is carried out with as much professionalism as with a certain bittersweet taste of continuing to expand the cycle of revenge and violence.
‘Unforgiven’: Deconstruction Before Deconstruction
Now the term “deconstruction” is used when we talk about a modern western with some reflection and twilight airs. But Eastwood already did all that before the term and trend became prevalent, and so 30 years have passed since its premiere and the film is still magnificent. The film is superbly dramatic, effective in tension and action, and has a really enriching aftertaste.
But what makes it one of the defining exponents of Eastwood’s work is how it turns out a definitive turning point in his career. Consciously or not, Clint looks at his own past, at that one full of violent films and antiheroes, and explores it quietly and even regretfully.
‘Unforgiven’ is a film that questions the very figure of the heroes and the destruction that derives from a masculinity so bravado that it is performative and useless. The most purely western thing we find in it is the majesty and exquisiteness with which it is shot, which is still one of the greatest visual delights of one of the last great classicist filmmakers.
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What to see on HBO Max: an excellent twilight western by Clint Eastwood that turns 30 as the greatest exponent of his filmography
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