After trying to think of some way to contribute to the site I finally found something to write about! I'm only 17 and haven't seen some of the classic, influencial films that some would consider to be essential to any film lover's experience. So, come with me and explore my take on films that have shaped genres, made a shit load of money and been loved by millions of people... and I haven't seen them.
So kicking it off is "Dirty Harry", the action classic that gave the movie world Harry Callahan who is played by Clint Eastwood of course. Eastwood gives a great performance as always and draws a lot of comparisons to the Western characters that made him famous. If I only learnt one thing from this film it's this, you don't fuck with Harry Callahan. A badass character who you just love whenever he is on screen. The only bad thing I have to saw about this guy is that his nickname is drawn on a bit too much in this film. I'm looking at the DVD box right now and the first thing I read on the back is "Harry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry", so you already get why he's called "Dirty", because he's a badass who does things his own way. You go into a film like this, or at least I certaintly did, already expecting this character and about every 10 minutes we get something happening and someone says "that must be why they call you 'Dirty Harry', because blah blah blah something abnout being a bad guy...". This is really nit-picking but I still thought it was a bit annoying when you're into the film and keep hearing the same dialogue come up.
I really wish the film had a better villain. Scorpio, a rooftop sniper, starts off with the usual 'one step ahead' sneakiness that you might expect and he starts making demands to the police that set up his conflict with Callahan. Scorpio leads him around the city under the promise that should Callahan act out his wishes, the girl he has captured will be released. Upon completing the tasks set up Callahan is.... beaten and told he will be killed along with the girl. Right at this point Scorpio switches into a Joker like state of doing whatever the fuck he wants, which I have no problem with, but right from the start you're given the impression that is a sophisticated guy. Also the fact he would kill both characters was rpobably to make him seem more like a threat, which again is fine, but when the film tells me that one thing will happen (the girl being released) after something else does (Callahan running around the city) I don't think it's unreasonable to be pissed off when the film's villain does whatever he feels like doing afterwards. Scorpio continues to change between crazy and crafty and I think one side of him should have been focussed on.
When I hear the title "Dirty Harry" I already had an idea that it was a very 'cool' movie, summed up in Callahan, which is definately the case. However, this film is often seen as a great ation film which I struggle to see. Yes, there are shootouts and some high tense drama but not really a great amount of action. Maybe it's the modern action films that seem to be overloaded with guns, explosions and killings that highlight the lack of these things in earlier action films. One thing I commend the film for is not wasting much time. We start with the villain making an impact and it's not that there is a non-stop high tempo, it's the fact that every scene gives you at least a little bit of extra information about either Callahan's attitude or how the police operates (as well as moving the story along of course).
*This section contains some spoilers, but nothing major and certaintly nothing about the film's ending*
OK, one thing I just straight up didn't like was one of the plot situations. Scorpio beats up Callahan, shoots his partner, and attempts to make off with money brought in an attempt to free the girl that he captured. Callahan fights back and eventually ends up chasing Scorpio around a football studio. Scorpio is then cornered, arrested and any evidence of his actions that we saw previously in the film are gathered. We then learn that none, that's NONE of this evidence can be used due to Callahan not having a warrent to search Scorpio's premesis and he will be released after healing from his injuries. I know revierws aren't meant to centre on the story of the film, but this doesn't make sense. I mean, I get where the film is meant to be coming from, a system that when sticked to preventing the result it wants, but there has to be some grounds you can use to lock him away. How about an eye-witness? How about trying to get a confession out of him after he demanded money from city officials or else he would kill again? HOW ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE ATTACKED A POLICE OFFICER? You can at least get him for that.
The bottom line is that maybe I epected too much of "Dirty Harry" in the action dapartment and not enough in other areas. Immediatly after watching I felt strange. This wasn't the action packed, gun-slinging film that I expected and was a little let down. However, I now realise that this film does need to have all that, instead giving me a solid crime film that certaintly keeps you interested and entertained. I see why it's popular and while there are some things I just can't get away with, I recommed this film for anyone wanting to see an entertaining film with Eastwood at his best.