Saturday, February 28, 2009
I have never been able to assess works of art in terms of their politics. It always seems like a category error, as in 'I don't like Hamlet because I don't agree with it.' I'll make a brief exception in the case of Clint Eastwood's superb Gran Torino. It is patriotic, but in such an ambivalent way that, if they are paying attention, it will irritate the right; it is liberal but in such a politically incorrect way that, if they are paying attention, it will irritate the left. I like a nice flat, even landscape of irritation as a backdrop to my politics. I guess this doesn't win Oscars - this film won none and should have had three considering the competition this year. But I often wonder how good Eastwood the director actually is. For some reason, I can't quite tell. I mean obviously he's very good, but is he John Ford? He's as good a craftsman, but is he as great an artist? Is he too much of a craftsman? Are his films too finished and, therefore, lacking the essential open-endedness of greatness? I just don't know. Do you?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:07 am