Clint Eastwood films top-of-the-state murder in first person



Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood) in Clint Eastwood's Full Power.


If Clint Eastwood has decided to shoot Full powers that’s because William Goldman’s screenplay, adapted from a David Baldacci bestseller, set out to depict the troubled relationship between a father and daughter. ” I have been there. I could find links to it”, told Eastwood to Richard Schickel, in a biography released in the United States in 1996 (published in France by the Presses de la Cité). In 1964, he had, in fact, had an illegitimate daughter, of which he had immediately lost interest before operating a reversal late in life.

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The American actor and director has therefore found personal resonances in this story of a safe breaker, accidental witness to a murder committed by the President of the United States, and who tries to reconnect with his daughter, whom he hardly saw any growth.

Eastwood’s films have always discreetly echoed his own existence. In the three Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone, he was a man with no name, no identity and no ties. In Inspector Harry (1971), he was only married to his work. In Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), his family was exterminated from the start of the film, and he reconstituted, over the course of his itinerary, a new home, made up of marginalized and left behind.

Eastwood’s films have always discreetly echoed his own existence.

Ruthless (1992) and In the line of sight (1993) inaugurated a new Eastwood, melancholy and anguished, in search of a second chance to make up for an original sin (a murder with explosives in the first film, the assassination of President Kennedy in the second, alongside whom he served bodyguard), the fault of which he could not forgive himself.

A genre film

What’s amazing about Full powers does not hold so much in this crude criticism of the political system or in this tasty and rather enjoyable way of presenting the president of the most powerful nation in the world (played by Gene Hackman) as a polymorphic pervert and a pathetic ersatz of the Marquis de Sade. What is most surprising lies in this ability, in a genre film with such apparent strings, to be able to speak so openly about oneself, almost without the alibi of fiction.

In a very strong scene, Luther Whitney, the scissorhands burglar played by Eastwood, returns home; on his chests of drawers are lined up dozens of photos, all carefully framed like trophies relating his feats of arms: Luther with his daughter on his shoulders, another of his daughter at school, a second still at university, during upon graduation, and then on leaving court when she pleads her first case.

It does not matter whether these shots are authentic or were made for the needs of the shooting, Full powers reads like a family album, a rather moving attempt to use the conventions of genre cinema to film in the first person.

Full powers, film by and with Clint Eastwood (EU, 1997, 121 min). With Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney. Broadcast on Chérie 25.


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