Dirty Harry (1971)

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.

Escape from Alcatraz (1979)


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)


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)