Dirty Harry (Siegel, 1971)

Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971)

Harry, while taking short breaks to single-handedly thwart a bank robbery on his lunch break and save a suicidal building jumper using harsh sarcasm, hunts down the oddest psychopath serial killer I’ve ever seen. Two ‘against the norm’ features stood out to me. First, the frightening opening scene where a random woman is targeted and shot dead. This wasn’t a wrong place/wrong time scenario; this woman was premeditatedly hunted for absolutely no reason. So while the killing of a character with no importance to the film seems like a throwaway intro, it actually sets the dark tone immediately. Next is how early the killer’s identity is revealed. The movie is not a mystery; it’s a game of cat and mouse. We’re given equal viewing rights to both the world of the hunted and the world of the hunter. Neither is particularly deep – it’s hard to come away from this thinking anything different than good/selfless vs. bad/insane, even when Harry does push the limits – but it’s an intriguing concept nonetheless. And stylistically, the movie shines on more than one occasion.  8.25/10


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