In essence this is being a very typical detective story, in which a tough cop has to stop a killer. "Dirty Harry" is of course a far from typical movie though. There are several things about it that makes this movie more special- and unlike any other genre attempt.

The first reason is also the most obvious one; its main character. Clint Eastwood plays a classic character, in the same vein as for instance a Steve McQueen- or Charles Bronson, in his best days, type of character. A tough looking guy, who backs down for nobody or anything and with an high sense for justice and righteousness. A good guy acting and thinking as a bad guy. Really, these type of characters often have more bad guy characteristics to them but yet they still work out really well as good guys, since they 'fight' for the right causes and are on the good side, even though they quite often break the law.

It's all very consistent with the raw and gritty style of the movie, courtesy of director Don Siegel. It's the sort of movie that feels realistic and is not just purely made to entertain. It has very little exaggerated moments in the sense of moments that feel like they couldn't ever happen in real life.

You could say that it's also being a slow moving- and not all that spectacular movie because of that but I would mostly disagree. It's fast paced with also plenty of excitement and action in it. Of course when compared to modern genre movies it's nothing too spectacular but it definitely has other qualities to it. It's rawness being one of them, which makes this a very straightforward and effective movie within its genre.

There really aren't too many distractions in this movie. It focuses just on the Dirty Harry character and all he is concerned about is getting the bad guy. So no other drama, no distracting love story, or other sentimental ploys. The movie is what it is and it doesn't ever pretend to be more than it truly is.

And the story as it is, is just fine. It has plenty of depth and good developments in it, all driven by a good and interesting crime story. It's not really being predictable in any way, which is also mainly due to its villainous character, played by Andrew Robinson. He's a very unpredictable and psychotic character, that no one is safe for. Not every plot development is convincing but it helps to let the story move along and to keep things fresh and interesting.

A great, gritty, cop movie, even still in today's perspective.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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