Samantha Walker (Patricia Clarkson) is a case in point. Given the power of her personality on television and the thrust of her ambitions for a career in journalism, she is an obvious "target" for Callahan's criticisms of the news media. (Of course, she and he become involved romantically.) There are humorous elements and moments such as Liam Neeson playing a horror film director and the remote control toy car which pursues Callahan for several blocks, obviously a parody of car chases in Bullitt and other films. Lalo Schiflin's musical score is quite effective. Other than Neeson, however, most of the cast members seem listless under Buddy Van Horn's direction. (Yes, that's Jim Carrey in the role of Johnny Squares, one of the victims.) The fact that much of this film seems tired or recycled suggests to me that it's time for the Callahan series to be retire. It has been commercially successful while enabling Eastwood to refine his acting and (in Sudden Impact, 1983) directing skills. People are still buying or renting one or more of the five films, all of which also appear on television, so it looks like Callahan will be with us for many years to come.
Among the many reasons I admire Clint Eastwood so much is the fact that, as he as become older, he has allowed that to be indicated on screen; better yet, he has played roles appropriate to his age and addressed aging issues in many of them. Most other actors (and yes, actresses) star in many films over a period of many years during which the aging process takes its toll on them. However, given the skills of make-up specialists and what new cosmetic technologies make possible, these actors (and actresses) continue to portray characters many years younger than they. Often, older male actors are cast opposite a romantic lead young enough to be their daughter. That is seldom true of older female actors. By the way, I still think Erica Barry should have selected Julian Mercer rather than Harry Sanborn in Something's Gotta Give.
Apparently Eastwood agrees with Harry Callahan: "A man's got to know his limitations." Consider the evolution of the Eastwood persona from Tightrope (1984) through Unforgiven (1992), In the Line of Fire (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and Absolute Power (1997) to True Crime (1999) and Space Cowboys (2000). Hopefully other roles appropriate to Eastwood's age await his talents as an actor. As Mystic River (2003) clearly demonstrates, his talents as a director are undiminished by the 31 years since Play Misty for Me. On the contrary, they are greater now than ever before.
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