As Clint Eastwood hit his mid-eighties, Richard Schickel directed his
third documentary on the actor-director-producer-music writer.
It takes the usual form of these documentaries, a series of talking
heads, the actors and writers and other talents he has worked with.
It's a pretty distinguished list of colleagues and Schickel has finally
gotten the point of his subject. Clint Eastwood is a professional and
those who work with him recognize it. Like the talent of the Studio era
of movie making -- he arose during its decline and demolishment -- he
doesn't boast of artistic vision or important messages. Eastwood finds
projects that interest him, works with people he can respect and
doesn't make a fuss in the process. That quiet sense of competence and
trust infuses his productions with a smoothness that astonishes and
enraptures the people he works with.
What the movies shows without saying directly is the intense taste and
intelligence with which Eastwood makes movies. His seemingly
lackadaisical attitude towards the box office results is belied by the
excellence and commitment shown in his work. Does every movie he works
on succeed? By no means. However his workmanlike attitude and his
frequently compelling work make him one of the few solidly middlebrow
movie makers still working and this documentary shows us why.
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