Moving Image Source’s Matt Zoller Seitz has delivered Part 2 of his Clint Eastwood study, called “Kingdom of the Blind, Part 2.” Narrated this time as well as subtitled.
“Eastwood’s wisecracking angel of death persona is so familiar — and so beloved by audiences — that when he seriously critiques it, as he did in Unforgiven, it doesn’t always register,” says Seitz. “People see Eastwood in a cowboy hat and think ‘entertainment.’ This writer saw the film three times in theaters. Two of those times the audience cheered Munny’s vengeance — the most horrific rampage in a studio movie since Taxi Driver — as if it were Terminator 2.
“Is Eastwood an exploitation filmmaker with aspirations to importance, or an artist who uses violent action to entice viewers into experiencing his films’ more complex aspects? Is he making art, or just entertainment with personality?
“Such distinctions may be a dead end; Eastwood would surely never draw them. And in any event, the actor-director isn’t just aware of his inconsistencies and mysteries, he foregrounds them in his films. The most intriguing aspect of Eastwood’s career is Eastwood himself.”