Gran Torino, Cont’d

The women doing Slate’s movie club this year have broken from discussing plastic surgery and what made them cry  and adolescent males and one, Dana Stevens, just made an excellent point on Gran Torino specifically and Clint Eastwood the Director, generally:

…Eastwood the director comes galumphing in with what I think even a lot of his fans agreed was a mawkishly heroic ending, which (I can state without spoiling either movie) shares a weird messianic logic with the finale of the award-winningly lousy Seven Pounds. The Manichaean split between Eastwood’s bad guys (that slavering child-murderer in The Changeling, warbling “Silent Night” under his execution hood) and his good guys/gals (Angelina Jolie, bruised and trembling in the snake-pit psycho ward) is just too stark for me to take seriously the moral plight of either. Isn’t the righteous masochism of Gran Torino (or The Changeling or Million Dollar Baby) just an inversion of the righteous sadism of the Dirty Harry movies?

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