|But boy, was he handsome.|
I find him nothing more than workmanlike. I find his movies are loaded with fake sentiment, as opposed to real emotion. And he has made an inordinate amount of clunkers, like Invictus, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, among others. The sheer amount of mediocre work he's done has rarely stopped some critics from gushing (critics, and I don't use this line of argument lightly, who seem to be overwhelmingly male, white and square). It's not El Clinto's fault that critics adore him without reservations. A. O. Scott had the audacity to be kind to Invictus. Roger Ebert tweets that Hereafter is not as bad as everybody says. They cut him way too much slack and I wonder why. Perhaps they are happy that a handsome, charismatic but not particularly good actor can direct halfway decently but with little imagination. Perhaps they identify with that.
Ken mentions Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and Unforgiven. I saw all of them and believed none. Take Million Dollar Baby. Trite and conventional and with Morgan Freeman as the loyal black sidekick who sweeps the floor. A female Rocky, except that Rocky in its time was far more authentic and original. Unforgiven is a deeply hypocritical film that claims to abhor violence while it makes a big spectacle of it. I have no problem with violence in movies when it serves a dramatic purpose, but to use it to illustrate the point of how bad it is to use it is dishonest. I have to admit that I didn't dislike Mystic River. But I didn't love it either.
His movies do not speak to me at all.