Thursday, November 16, 2006

Clint Eastwood's Heartbreak Ridge

One of the five 80's films I watched over the past two nights is "Heartbreak Ridge," produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays a hard, old American marine named Sgt. Tom "Gunny" Highway. He is on the brink of retirement, pressed by his colleagues, but ignores the notion, and takes responsibilty of a no-good recon unit. Despite the indignity of the job, Gunny’s experiences with his unit, along with the featured love life, aid in his character development. Dynamic character development is interesting to examine in this film. However, combat scenes are week, and the majority of the scenes with the unit are a bit dull. More could be expected from the action sequences. Gunny's situation is intiguing but his character, overall, is a few steps above boring. The way Gunny's emotions are so well hidden does not put him in a position to be a strong main character, and Eastwood's subpar performance does little for me (although he is indeed a powerful actor.)

Members of the unit ultimately insists on proving themselves to their Sergeant. The unit is well represented by Gunny, and Eastwood's typical tough guy persona empowers the group. The only feelings that are expressed by Gunny seem to be evident in his ordeal with his ex wife. To win her love, Gunny must successfully balance his Marine lifestyle with time spent with her. Adapting and improvising is a big lesson he teaches, and a big theme of the film. The skills he teaches his men uniquely relate to his life.

The film was alright, nothing special. If you're a huge Eastwood fan, this is a perfect film for you. There are some funny scenes here and there as well, and Clint fires some sharp, straight-faced, wit that I really enjoy.

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