Sunday, March 20, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby / Million Dollar Baby. US (c) 2004 Warner Bros. PC: Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Lakeshore Entertainment a Malpaso / Ruddy Morgan Production. P: Clint Eastwood, Albert S. Ruddy, Tom Rosenberg, Paul Haggis. D+M: Clint Eastwood. SC: Paul Haggis - based on stories from Rope Burns by F.X. Toole. DP: Tom Stern. PD: Henry Bumstead. ED: Joel Cox. Starring Clint Eastwood (Frankie Dunn), Hilary Swank (Maggie Fitzgerald), Morgan Freeman (Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris). 135 min. Released by FS Film, Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Arto Vartiainen / Marko Hietikko. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 1, Helsinki, 19 March 2005. Clint's best, one of the all-time best boxing movies. I regarded Eastwood highly already in the 1970s as a director (The Outlaw Josey Wales) and an actor (Escape from Alcatraz). He is now tackling some of his strongest material: Mystic River and now this. Featuring a reluctant veteran boxing gym owner and manager Frankie Dunn and his at 31 too old girl protegee Maggie Fitzgerald, this is a psychological boxing story. Boxing is about heart and respect. "Protect yourself" is Frankie's credo, Maggie needs someone to believe in her. Frankie has lost his daughter's love, Maggie comes from loveless white trash. Reluctantly, Frankie becomes Maggie's father figure. Surprisingly, Maggie becomes a contender for world championship and is expected to win, but her brutal antagonist plays it dirty, and the road to glory turns to tragedy, culminating in the same choice as Mar adentro. Clint directs in a strong, lean, laid-back, classical style. Having gone to the Don Siegel school, he is better in emotion and more unhurried in tempo. ***+

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