With American Sniper rounding up the dollars at the cinema and several award nominations already in the bag it would appear that Clint Eastwood is doing pretty well as a director. Believ it or not of course he has been successful for several years prior to this and today I am going through my top five. Eastwood has to be directing though, he can on and behind the camera or just behind it. And here are the best for me.
5: The Outlaw Josey Wales
Given that his role in this western is so iconic it can be easy to forget that Eastwood also directed this gloomily beautiful western. This is clearly a specific vision that was fully realised by the directorial techniques used throughout to make the story about the American Civil War. It’s set in the past yet still disturbingly parallel to modern times and is rightfully branded as a western masterpiece.
4: Letters from Iwo Jima
Portraying WW2 from a Japanese perspective might appear to be unusual from an actor turned director infused with classic American culture. Almost entirely in Japanese but still able to retain a strong connection with American audiences, helped by its counterpart Flags of Our Fathers together these films portrayed good and evil on both sides of the battle, with stunning recreations of war and humanity Eastwood gave us USA and Japanese soldiers as different sides of the same coin.
3: Gran Torino
Once again Eastwood transcended his association of an old fashioned American to direct and star in this achingly detailed story of an old man accepting the changing world around him. As well as being Eastwood’s most successful film to date it’s also a sleek and stylish, yet traditional and emotional experience that’s thrilling sometimes, humorous when it needs to be and touching throughout.
2: Million Dollar Baby
Possibly the most tragic and astonishing story of the last decade was the tale of boxing, redemption and atonement. Rather than simply being Rocky with a girl Million Dollar Baby exceeded the expectations of its own genre and grew to become an remarkable achievement. The emotional impact is unprecedented and the performances are all amazing, only highlighted by the dark substance that Eastwood gives the film.
Even as a director Eastwood cannot escape the old west, and thank god for it. Not only does it unite three screen legends, Eastwood, Freeman and Hackman but it masterfully blends the western feel with that classic noir and sophisticated look that gave it a gritty yet classy edge over all others. It won four academy awards and acts as a fitting contemplation of heroism, age, bravery and character. It’s only fitting that it was in tribute of Sergio Leone himself, and in many ways, to all westerns in general. It’s timeless and Eastwood’s greatest achievement.
So what’s your favourite film that Eastwood directed? Whatever it is leave a comment below to let me know and don’t forget to recommend Film Fanatic on google.