Friday, March 02, 2007

Pinkerton draws six-gun on Eastwood, shoots self in foot

Before James Pinkerton became a columnist for Newsday, he “worked in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.”

This perhaps goes some way to explaining Pinkerton’s motivation in writing this hatchet job on Clint Eastwood and his movies, but it doesn’t quite explain the glaring absence of a basic grasp of his subject.

Pinkerton sets the tone ominously with...

Clint Eastwood is “growing” as a movie director. We know what that means — he is going to the politically correct left.

Cue eerie, foreboding music. Pinkerton is uncloaking the “real” Eastwood — or so he would have us believe.

His “growth” was notable in 1992 when Unforgiven, his nihilistic deconstruction of the western, won a bunch of Oscars ...

One could spend all day unpacking what Pinkerton means by “nihilistic deconstruction”, but such a label is surely a matter of opinion. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Unforgiven, but I would have thought an equally valid interpretation is that the film attempts a bleak realism in the depiction of human behaviour in the extremity of frontier anomy. Or something.

And surely deconstruction of such a hackneyed genre as the western is not some kind of cultural crime.

But next comes the following jarring clanger of a statement:

In 2003 his Mystic River gave audiences a curiously sympathetic portrait of a child-murderer...

Leaving aside that loaded “curiously sympathetic”, it is immediately apparent that Pinkerton either hasn’t seen the film, or is being just plain malicious. Mystic River portrays a troubled man who is mistakenly suspected of being a child-murderer.

Pinkerton notes that their performances in Mystic River gained Oscars “for the liberal lions Sean Penn and Tim Robbins,” upon reading which his primed readers will no doubt become convinced of a “liberal Hollywood” conspiracy to sap the nation’s precious bodily fluids.

Then Pinkerton describes Eastwood’s 2004 Million Dollar Baby as a “tribute to euthanasia.” I haven’t actually seen that film, but by now I wouldn’t be surprised to read that Bridges of Madison County is a “tribute to adultery”.

Having cast a handful of specious aspersions at Eastwood’s work to date — and, by implication, impugning Eastwood’s character — Pinkerton turns to the ultimate target of this hamfisted hatchet piece, being Eastwood’s latest offering, Letters From Iwo Jima.

I haven’t yet seen this new movie, and I rather doubt Pinkerton has seen it, considering his performance so far, and the fact that he quotes a third party to actually can the film:

Reporting on the rapturous reception given to Letters From Iwo Jima at the Berlin Film Festival, The Financial Times was clear-eyed enough to call the film “gaga with political correctness”, depicting the Japanese as “lovable, misunderstood victims of history”.

Call me hopelessly perverse, but I’ll forgo the collective wisdom of Newsday and The Financial Times, and wait to actually see the movie before coming to any conclusion.



Blogger Caz said...

That's almost funny.

It's not unusual to read book and film reviews that get key story points WRONG, which always makes me rather annoyed, since, someone being PAID to review something should at least attempt to be accurate, if not enlightening.

This chappy has no such contraints of course, so he can misrepresent and change story lines as much as he wants to, but what on earth is his motive? Is he envious of Clint Eastwood? Who knows.

In Mystic River that innocent man is killed for his troubles. Two young black boys turn out to be the murderers of a young woman. No child molestation in the movie at all. Was he confusing the film with the Woodsman (Kevin Bacon?). Who knows.

Million Dollar Baby is only an ode to euthenasia if you think every harrowing event in life contains precisely the circumstances depicted in the film. Besides which, in the real world, it couldn't have happened. Machines would have alarmed and medical staff would have been running around like rabbits - the character would have been saved, and been seriously pissed off. It's an odd little film, but an ode to ethenasia it isn't.

3/3/07 11:54 AM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

Yeah, now you mention it I think Pinkerton must be confusing Mystic River with The Woodsman, which so far as I know Eastwood had nothing to do with.

Re his motive, he's one of those cultural warriors, of the rightwing persuasion. Look at the cast of characters in his hit-list - Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, 'liberal' Hollywood generally, and those bloody Oscar people who apparently unerringly reward 'liberal' do-gooders for indoctrinating people.

Sure, celeb 'activists' who mouth off on political issues are fair game for criticism, but their 'opponents' will have to do far better than this. This is an even bigger pile of crap than Christopher Pearson's pathetic lunge at the ABC whenever it was last year. And Pearson's was a hard one to top.

4/3/07 9:39 PM  

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