White Hunter Black Heart (Eastwood, 1990)

This review contains spoilers.

White Hunter Black Heart (Clint Eastwood, 1990)

Eastwood was very close to hitting this one out of the park. There is an absence of a certain level of emotion though, that keeps this one at arm’s length. Honestly, I’m interested in knowing if there were heavy edits made to an original vision or something. Eastwood plays a film director whose latest project is to be filmed in Africa. During his stay, he befriends a young native man who he even talks about bringing back to America. My main issue is that any type of bond formed between these two characters apparently happens off screen. Because they don’t speak the same language, there was an opportunity to build a friendship between the two through visuals instead of words, which could have added a nice layer of poetry to the film if done right. Instead, in the penultimate scene where the native sacrifices himself for Eastwood’s character, I didn’t really feel anything.

With all that said, I did like this. Eastwood is great as he demands to do things his way at all times. I imagine this character is not all that unlike the man himself and he feels completely natural portraying this. He’s a man who doesn’t much care about the concerns of the well-to-do, but is passionate about the well being of the persecuted (in his tough guy sort of way). His characterization is consistent, and as the film concludes and the natives he’s grown so close to now see him as nothing more than an evil white man, the final shot of his worn down dejected face broke my heart.  8.25/10


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