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Feb 8, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

If I am asked to pick a director from Hollywood, just one, the one I like the most, I'd pick Clint Eastwood. His latest offering Million Dollar Baby starring Hilary Swank is a gritty tale of a female boxer. Eastwood himself plays the main male lead in the film as the experienced trainer, Frankie Dunn.

Photography is remniscent of Eastwood's last movie(the one he directed before this), Mystic River, dark, grainy, closeups with ample play of shadows. As a director this film shows yet another stage of maturing of Eastwood, from the westerns of his early days which culminated in the masterpiece,The Unforgiven, to the crime dramas of his later stage like Blood Work and Mystic River and the romances like The Bridges of Madison County and The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil(which in a way is a crime drama too), in Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood, the director takes on the gritty realities of life in an intense character drama. I wish he was getting younger, so we would have an endless string of movies from this talented director-actor.

Hilary Swank has lived the life of the boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald. One of the most dedicated and true actresses to come out of Hollywood in the recent past, Swank put on 20 lbs of muscle and trained boxing to play the part. The film does not rely on an epic story but rather on the struggles, triumphs and tribulations of its characters, their fights in the ordinary world. Morgan Freeman plays an important supporting role. It is one of the few serious movies to come out of Hollywood in the recent years which has an indie-quality to it, but is a perfect piece of work nevertheless. Only someone like Clint Eastwood, experienced, talented and with a strong foothold and a voice in Hollywood can make such a gem of a movie.