“Unforgiven” (1992): Clint Eastwood held on to screenwriter David Webb Peoples’ revisionist western until the time was right, and the result was an Oscar-bestowed turning point. Evocatively, suspensefully detailing a desperate widower’s reckoning with his savage past, it tracked powerfully as both a pungent deflating of merrily violent western myths and a scarily tense depiction of how, as Eastwood’s killer tells a scared young man, “We all have it comin,” kid.” By the end, each gunshot is Eastwood mercy-killing a genre he loves, and knocking us to our senses about bloody movie justice.
“Million Dollar Baby” (2004): A poor young female boxer (Hilary Swank) wants to fight. The trainer (Eastwood) reluctantly trains. Punches await, small, and huge. An unabashedly rich-in-feeling movie about toughness,