Do You Feel Lucky?

Dirty Harry by art crimes.
Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy of Art Crimes.

Given my Zodiac obsession, and my general fondness for chasing down books and movies referenced in books and movies that I love, it’s a little embarrassing that I haven’t seen Dirty Harry yet.  I watched it over the weekend on my Netflix binge.  Neither the embrace of vigilantism, nor the “Take that, hippie!” politics of the movie age particularly well.  But it’s got a number of a great shots: the opening sequence with the murder in the swimming pool, Clint Eastwood standing on top of a train trestle in a sharp suit and dark sunglasses, looking like the incarnation of vengeance.  It’s too bad he never played the Devil.  He’d have been marvelous in it.

Really, I think Eastwood is the only reason to watch the movie, which seems to function as an uncomfortable bridge between an earlier era of action flicks and a later one.  Watching him take a bite of a hot dog, shoot up a crew of bank robbers, and then finish chewing is a marvelous couple of moments of acting.  As is him shucking off his pants to save $30 after getting shot.  The guy just knew his range and lived in it better than almost anyone else I know.  Someone like Meryl Streep can do more, for sure, but not always as deeply or intensely.  And I couldn’t watch Eastwood all the time, but there’s something invigorating about that kind of intensity, like good coffee or really cold air.