Saturday, May 26, 2007

Million Dollar Baby...title contender

Million Dollar Baby - Clint Eastwood - 2004 - 9/10


Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) owns a fighter's gym and occassionally manages special fighters, aided by Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman). Into the gym walks thirty-two year old Maggie Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank), determined to learn how to fight, and she wants the best - Frankie. Frankie refuses, at first because he doesn't want to train a girl, and then because he doesn't want to manage. But one night changes that all and soon Frankie is managing Maggie. Through all Frankie's advice - "always protect yourself" and all of Maggie's heart, the two grow close. Haunted by his inability to stop a fight a close friend was on, Frankie often avoids putting his fighters in harms way, something Eddie accuses him of "lacking confidence" in his fighters. Finally Frankie makes a choice, and as the movie unfolds he battles with whether he made the right choice.


As usual, Clint's movie is amazing. A fairly original take on boxing movies and sports movies in general. Based on three short stories though, it is very clear where the story comes apart in three pieces. Written by Paul Haggis, the dialogue is suprisingly laid back, yet sometimes sharp at points. While I knew Clint was sometimes prone to overdramatization, like in Mystic River and Blood Work, the movie dragged on in parts, especially the ending. People usually say that a good novel has a plot turn every five pages. I think the same can be, and should be applied to movies, that a plot turn (or just a new development) should occur every five to ten minutes. Million Dollar Baby reached a critical turning point and sort of planed out for the last half hour. It spent that time leading to a plot turn that had largely been fore shadowed and forecast and seemed to be a force choice for the maker of that decision. That half hour made the movie run on, and that time took away from development earlier that could have really pushed this movie over the top.


Must see it - if you watch it late at night, maybe you'll fall asleep before the last half hour.

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Cinderella Man
...Boys Don't Cry

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