A Perfect World (Spoilers)

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Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Clint Eastwood is hit and miss for me. While I've only seen a handful of his films as a director, the ones I have seen range from the good (Mystic River, Gran Torino), the bad (Absolute Power) and the ugly (The Rookie, Hereafter). However, also from the ones I've seen, there are two masterpieces, Oscar triumph and one of the few Westerns I really like in Unforgiven, and this overlooked little gem.

Kevin Costner plays Butch Haynes, an escaped convict who takes a young boy hostage on the run from the police. They start a friendship, and the young boy, Phillip (T.J Lowther) finds a father figure in Butch. Eastwood plays Texas Ranger Red Garnett, who leads the manhunt for Haynes.

A Perfect World is slow-moving. Let's get that out of the way first. At it's 133 minute running time, things can get a bit tedious at times. But it doesn't matter, because you can also consider Unforgiven & Mystic River slow as well. Those films have acclaim coming out of their asses. And I think A Perfect World is more thematically rich, well acted and more emotionally cpativating than any other Eastwood film.

The characters are remarkably realised, but the relationship between Butch and Phillip is one that will resonate for a long time. Over the course of the film, Butch guides, protects and ultimately shows love for his young captive, and Phillip returns the same feelings. Kevin Costner and T.J Lowther are both excellent in their roles, both delivering career best performances. Costner, especially, is a revelation, and it's hard to believe that this was his last great performance.

It's easy to say that the relationship between the two are the film's greatest strength, so much that it causes the film's biggest flaw. The scenes between Butch and Phillip are so well executed and written, that the scenes without them feel superfluous. Whenever it switches over to Eastwood in the Governor's motor home, that's when the tedium can start to kick in. Luckily, these scenes are few, and relatively short.

The film's emotional finale is jam-packed full of sentiment, which I usually judge, but for me, feels a lot like the ending of Terminator 2. Butch needs to die, because there is no way for him and Phillip to still maintain their relationship. The sentiment is needed to make the viewer realise how much we've come to care for these two characters. The final scenes are heartbreaking.

As for being the best Eastwood film, I think not, but as my favourite, this one comes closest to taking the top spot.

"George, this is a little too much for me. Escaped convicts, fugitive sex... I've got a cockfight to focus on."

absolutely agree with you about his movies and love this movie