Monday, April 09, 2012

Eastwood's Folly?

I barely remember Clint Eastwood's White Hunter Black Heart from my "I hope it's in stock at the video store" days, but this apprecation makes me want to seek it out again. Also, were trailers so stilted even 20 years ago?
Eastwood embodies Wilson as both a charming rabble-rouser and a man driven by staunch morals about the phoniness of happy endings (as he and Pete debate early on, in a slightly too on-the-nose scene) and the necessity of taking principled stands no matter the consequences—"If you fight, you feel okay about it," he tellingly informs Pete. Those two qualities come to the fore in White Hunter Black Heart's most amusing scene, in which Wilson absolutely eviscerates a woman he's attempting to woo with a caustic anecdote after she confesses—in front of avowed Jew Pete—that Hitler's one good idea was gas-chamber extermination. Wilson's duality is also forcefully felt in his simultaneous disgust with the Hollywood money machine and his defense of the system's "whores" (amongst whom he once counted himself), in his egotistical demand for financing and then cavalier abandonment of the production for hunting escapades, and—most fundamental of all—in his desire to create art and risk self-destruction.

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