Sunday, January 16, 2005

I'm still on my movie run - met a friend this morning to see Clint Eastwood film Million Dollar Baby. This is one of those films that makes me wonder Am I hyper racially-class sensitive? The first half of the movie is a nice tribute to boxing and life. The performances by Swank, Eastwood and Freeman are all well done. Actually while watching the film I thought Hillary Swank deserves the Oscar. (Assuming entertainment business politics doesn't get in the way) The acting is wonderful and script/direction works so well in so many places.

But the film - makes this twist where instead of boxing we get a WWW match. I don't know why they decided to portray a boxing match that you would never ever see, something completely illegal - just silly. I don't feel audiences are so dull that you have to hit them over the head to prove your point with manipulative dramatics.

Also, Swank's family and her top boxing opponent are such caricatures in the film. They felt like some type of weird stereotypes validating that the poor suck. This is where I thought maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to film images. Swank character was so good (she really portrays an idea. Eastwood surrounds her with a Celtic mysticism. But the poor and those of African heritage (excluding Freeman) where so bad - it bothered me on a gut level. One of the first images we see of Freeman is being called Nigger but a white man of limited intelligence, which he handles, with wisdom of patience. Isn't this a cue of good Negro to the white audience? Like the fake boxing those elements of the film left a bad taste in my mouth.

But these are my criticism, maybe one day I'll get to chance to ask Mr. Eastwood why did he make a potentially great film just good?


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