Sunday, December 29, 2019

Eastwood's 'most self-consciously libertarian film'

Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' Movie Is Remarkably Libertarian- Katya Sedgwick:

December 20, 2019 - "I generally resent recommending art for political reasons..... In the case of Richard Jewell, however, the unusual point of view moves the film in a novel direction and makes it a compelling standout feature. Director Clint Eastwood is an avowed libertarian, and Richard Jewell is probably the single most self-consciously libertarian film he’s ever made.

"Of course, I don’t understand everything about Eastwood’s brand of libertarianism. His support of gun control, for instance.... Moreover, the actor/director has endorsed an array of big-government politicians in California. I am going to give Eastwood a pass on all of that, however, because his job isn’t to be consistent. His job is to create compelling cinema, and he delivers that, film after film.

"Richard Jewell is probably not his strongest work. It leaves little room for suspense and is a bit predictable, in part because we all know the story: Security guard Richard Jewell find[s] a suspicious backpack at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which turns out to be a bomb that kills two people and injures more than 100. At first heralded as a hero, Jewell soon becomes the FBI’s primary suspect and the target of a media rampage.

"It is exquisitely acted, however, with Eastwood’s minimalist directing style shining through. The characters Eastwood introduces are as familiar to the American psyche as they are unusual to meet onscreen: a hard-working and loving, if TV-addicted, single mom; a geeky, libertarian lawyer; an overweight, overzealous copper....

"I can think of two reasons Eastwood continues to create novel but easily recognizable characters. First, he makes films from the point of view of ordinary Americans. Second, he makes libertarian films. Since libertarianism is a very American worldview, one reason blends into the other....

"Most of the films produced in this country today are ideological and amount to some sort of soft Marxism. It’s hard to imagine that in different hands, Jewell’s persona would morph into anything other than a villain or an unfortunate victim of circumstances, but in Eastwood’s reading, he is an individual in his own right....

"Libertarianism is right next door to anarchy, but somehow not many artists are interested in making films representing that outlook. The pent-up demand for this type of entertainment has surfaced since the emergence of the Tea Party in the beginning of President Barack Obama’s first term. Ten years later, there’s finally a movie about healthy, vocal mistrust of the state and the media, and the tension between respect for authority and individual autonomy.

"Nobody in the world can possibly make a film like that except for American artists, and out of all big-name directors in America, Eastwood is the only one who picks up this opportunity.... American filmmakers should try to work with libertarian themes because these creators are in an ideal position to explore them, and taking that kind of risk would lead their craft in a new, interesting direction. We’ve all seen filmmakers’ cookie-cutter wokeness. Show us something new."

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