Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact ★★★★½

The great low budget filmmaker Charles B. Pierce and his usual creative partner Earl Smith have a writing credit on Sudden Impact which is one of the most unexpected ties in an Eastwood movie. The connection was through Sondra Locke, who starred in Smith's lone directing effort, a very intriguing horror/western hybrid called The Shadow of Chikara and it isn't a huge surprise to learn that Sudden Impact script started as rape/revenge vehicle for Locke that Eastwood took an interested in and turned into a Dirty Harry vehicle. Those origins are fascinating when thinking about the movie's troubling qualities as while it wouldn't work at all without its many mirrors and doublings as I wrote the last time I saw it (and all the Harry comedy is essential to enlighten the violent movie Locke is in), that it started as a low budget disreputable genre gives it some of its rougher edges. It also goes along way towards highlighting how Eastwood's work has the contradiction of coming from the most commercial succesful star/director from the last 50 years and be so consistant unplesant and taken by sleazy sadistic quality. That serves Sudden Impact really well as embodied in Locke's astonishing performance (and I enjoy how the film is structured so she slowly takes it over) a truly pained account of how American mainstream culture perceives violence, the ways it is accepted or not both trhough officials and unnoficial channels.

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