Christmas is forgotten. January already is a distant memory and spring is still a million years away despite the ever-hopeful snowdrops putting in their customary early appearance. If snowdrops were party guests they’d arrive just as the carpet was being rolled back and the other half was at the supermarket for the booze.
The lull that is early February was taken up with a Dirty Harry excursion into bleakness. Not so much an adventure in Movieland, more a traipse.
- Dirty Harry (1971)
- Themes: Personal justice vs institutional justice with unsympathetic mental health thrown into the mix.
- Sudden Impact (1973)
- Themes: Personal justice vs institutional justice with the core question of how far is too far?
- The Enforcer (1976)
- Themes: Gender equality with unsympathetic mental health thrown into the mix.
- Sudden Impact (1983)
- Themes: Revenge with unsympathetic mental health thrown into the mix.
- The Dead Pool (1988)
- Themes: Media with unsympathetic mental health thrown into the mix.
What struck me after gorging the season is just how far we have come. The Dirty Harry series were quite progressive in their day I suppose, with questions about police brutality, gender equality and the role of the media in society standing out particularly strongly, however it is difficult watching the films as a proper grown up and have to keep the context of their time in the back of one’s mind whilst doing so. At core these five films are nasty little stories with questionable morals, but they do have some redeeming features. Accepting that in Dirty Harry’s San Francisco all people with mental health issues are killers, they do ask questions of the society that they were produced for. Not deep questions, granted. This after all is not the platform for deep and meaningfuls.
If you have not binged Dirty Harry I would recommend the experience. There are benefits. Just not as many as I remember from watching them as a much younger man.