MILLION  DOLLAR  BABY    -          A  Narada Film Review

   MORGAN FREEMAN  
   ...as Eddie 'Scrap Iron' Dupris  
      
  CLINT EASTWOOD  
  ....as Frankie Dunn  
             
   HILLARY SWANK   
   ....as Maggie Fitzgerald
MILLION DOLLAR BABY - 2004   -Clint Eastwood-Director   &  Producer
   As a reviewer, I find it interesting that Clint Eastwood is able to find stories year after year, while other Hollywood brass (Producers & Directors) busy themselves with finding 'plots'.   The difference between 'story' and 'plot' is two orders of magnitude in favor of 'story' every time.   When will they ever learn?   And in spite of breaking the cardinal rule of not spreading one's self too thinly, Eastwood not only directs and produces MILLION DOLLAR BABY, but he plays a leading roll.   The difference is he pulls it off in fine form, producing one of the best films of the year.   Another thing Eastwood did right was to select who would be playing opposite him - and he chose the best in Morgan Freeman.   --You may recall this same Freeman / Eastwood combination in the classic (...and Oscar-winning) Unforgiven.
         Those of you expecting MILLION DOLLAR BABY to be yet another Unknown-Athlete-Becomes-Superstar 'motivational' - will not be disappointed.   But this is the departure point - this is where the film leaves the realm of regurgitated Hollywood plot and becomes a story.   This is the story of the world of boxing - the gyms, the promoting, the fights - and the issues.   Several moviegoers were overheard saying as they left the theater, that this film is an emotional appeal for euthanasia -- and stop me if I'm wrong, but I fully expect that the religious fanatical fringe will soon be beating a similar drum.   My reply is simple folk should be kept from viewing complex films involving 'issues' - either that, or go watch it again, this time without your bias.
         But my praises aside, MILLION DOLLAR BABY is not the perfect film - it still occasionally relies on some standard tear-jerker gimmickry, although not enough to detract from the overall impact.   But lets cut to the chase, will MILLION DOLLAR BABY win one or more Oscars?   I've learned the hard way that the Oscars are sentiment-driven emotional experiences where only occasionally their conscience forces them to recognize real cinematic achievement - so it's anyone's guess.   Does it deserve an Oscar? That's another matter - based Hollywood's paltry and otherwise tattered 2004 offerings, the answer is a simple 'yes'.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "Well, you've got me."

Copyright 2005,    Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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