Dirty Harry (1971)

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When a madman dubbed ‘Scorpio’ terrorizes San Francisco, hard-nosed cop, Harry Callahan—famous for his take-no-prisoners approach to law enforcement—is tasked with hunting down the psychopath. (Letterboxd)
For a 100-minute movie it feels really long (see the numerous monotonous tracking/chasing shots), and its tangential scenes for character development feel completely unnecessary (see the bank robbery, suicide rescue) since the film never commits to being an in-depth character piece. Its central police procedural plot is done well though, with its fantastic music and atmosphere, a chilling villain, and a surprisingly intriguing underlying theme of the tension between justice and the law.
6.5/10 (Alright)

Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

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Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from the most infamous prisons in the world. (IMDb)
A prison-break thriller perfectly paced by a slowly-but-surely story that moves methodically from subtle setting and character set-ups (including the plot-motivating depressing Alcatraz and its antagonizing warden) to the suspenseful escape plan and execution. Eastwood’s calm and cool Morris heads a superb screenplay devoid of superfluous dialogue or action that uses its simple cinematography and understated turns from the whole cast to drive home a straight-forward plot and a consistent mood.
8/10 (Great)

 

Mystic River (2003)

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With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy. (IMDb)
Fantastic turns from Robbins (the troubled childhood victim), Bacon (the steady cop), and Penn in particular (the tough but broken dad) headline this dark-toned, grungy suburbia-set film that fleshes out its tense murder mystery plot with torturous character drama surrounding three old friends brought together by ugly tragedy. The final twist is a little jarring and unconvincing at first but it sinks in with further thought, and its agonizing emotional aftermath solidifies it within the script.
8/10 (Great)