JUDY COODE'S criticisms of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven puzzled me greatly ("On The Beat," December 1992). She states the movie has an identity crisis, apparently because it is neither a traditional shoot-em-up nor a literal portrayal of pacifism. But that's what makes this film so powerful. It ruthlessly examines the nature of violence: what drives men and women to it and what its moral consequences are. No one in the movie wears a white hat. The reformed William Munny seems a genuinely good man, but desperate circumstances reacquaint him with the grim and pathetic reality of killing.
As for the pacifist influence of his wife: It lasted until, in grief and rage, he hit the whiskey bottle again. This is certainly no anti-gun control platform. All too sadly it is reality, but Eastwood paints a brutally honest and haunting portrait of it.
Daniel Reed Miller