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The Ethical Vision of Clint Eastwood
PAPERBACK; Published: 11/28/2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6295-2
277 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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Clint Eastwood is a Hollywood icon, with five Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and numerous other accolades for his work as an actor, director, producer, and composer. Yet because he rose to fame in "spaghetti westerns" and Dirty Harry shoot-em-ups, few critics have ventured to explore Eastwood's philosophical, ethical, and artistic agenda as an intellectual filmmaker.

Addressing this void, film scholar Sara Anson Vaux analyzes fifteen of Eastwood's best-known films from narrative, artistic, and thematic perspectives. She traces the nuanced development of Eastwood's unfolding moral vision over a forty-year continuum, showing how this vision has grown more sophisticated even as many of the motifs expressing it -- justice, confession, war and peace, the gathering, the search for a perfect world -- have remained the same.

Contains 33 images from Eastwood's films.

Read more from the author of this book on Eerdword.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Vaux has built new bridges between religion and film that will stand for years to come."
Jolyon Mitchell
-- author of Media Violence and Christian Ethics
"Engaging, fluent, and original, this book is a 'must-read' for film scholars, movie enthusiasts, and anyone interested in Clint Eastwood's films. Covering over forty years of his creative cinematic work, Sara Anson Vaux provides an insightful account of Eastwood's films and his journey from Spaghetti Westerns, via Pacific war movies, to more recent productions such as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Gran Torino. Vaux provides fresh and thought-provoking perspectives on Eastwood's ethical vision."
Christopher Deacy
-- author of Theology and Film: Challenging the Sacred/Secular Divide
"A beautifully written, challenging, erudite -- while also deeply personal and moving -- engagement with Eastwood and his films. The precision of Vaux's writing is matched by the wisdom and the penetrating theological eye that she brings to this study. . . . I liked this book enormously. It bridges the popular and academic terrain, and together with all of her learned musings presents a deeply contemplative and compassionate insight into how Eastwood's films have changed her."
Rose Pacatte, FSP
-- award-winning film journalist and author
"This lavish and articulate hymn of praise to one of Hollywood's greatest film directors lets us experience Clint Eastwood's films anew through the dual lens of ethics and transcendence."
"Clint Eastwood is a film actor and director of international distinction. Vaux is not only one of his many fans but also an insightful commentator on his work. . . . This book will push many back to the films for another look."
Robert K. Johnston
-- author of Reel Spirituality
"Long an American icon, Clint Eastwood, the filmmaker, has brought to his distinctive storytelling style an increasing empathy for the outcast, the loser, the immigrant. At once engaging and perceptive, comprehensive yet personal, Vaux's unpacking of Eastwood's commitment to the intrinsic worth of every person is masterful. It is hard to imagine a better reflection on Eastwood's movies."
Journal of Contemporary Religion
"An important contribution to film studies. . . . An exploration and critique of Eastwood's ethical vision that spans some of his best known work. As such it provides a compassionate and erudite addition to existing work in the field."
Reviews in Religion & Theology
"It is the breadth of references, academic, cultural, and personal, that gives this book its unique readability. . . . Skillfully integrating theology with film studies, this is a book with wide appeal."
New York Times
"Vaux argues that the actor and director [Clint Eastwood] . . . is more than a political activist, more than a great director. He is an ethicist, a theologian even. . . . She prompted me to watch Mr. Eastwood's movies with a new set of questions."
"Eastwood is an award-winning moviemaker who's at the top of his game. After reading Vaux's book, you will never look at his films the same way."
Presbyterian Outlook
"With a body of work exploring forgiveness, sin, redemption, reconciliation, violence, racism, and mercy, Clint Eastwood is the sharpest (non)theologian working in film today (or ever). The author brings erudition to this wonderful exploration of Eastwood's journey as a filmmaker. . . . Read this book and watch the films with your congregation."