A Perfect World

YEAR: 1993

WRITER: John Lee Hancock

DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: $31,160,784

 

in 1992 clint eastwood directed the academy award winning film, Unforgiven. in 1995 he directed The Bridges Of Madison County, based on the ginormous best-selling book of the same name. however, what many film goers missed was the film mr. eastwood made in between those two. in 1993 he directed A Perfect World.

in the 1960s Butch Haynes (costner) escapes from prison and during his first few hours on the run, kidnaps phillip, an eight-year-old boy. the new travel partners head off with texas ranger, red garnett (eastwood) and his team searching for them.

not only is this a film that gets forgotten when people discuss eastwood directorial efforts, but the film provides one of kevin costner's best performances of his career (to go along with Bull Durham and Tin Cup). also, being 1993 it was pretty much right in the middle of that 10 year span in which costner was the king of hollywood. from 1987(The Untouchables) to 1997(The Postman - Waterworld was the first big hit to his reign and this one pretty much put an end to it).

the absentee fathers for both characters (haynes and the kid) and the rough childhood for haynes creates an obvious father/son bond between the two rather quickly. and both actors really do great work here.

phillip (t.j. lowther) is quiet and attentive and naive and curious. growing up in a secluded and restrictive jehovas witness household this new freedom that haynes allows him is exciting at first.

as for haynes, costner is able to play the edge really well. we know he would never hurt phillip (he is actually very protective of him and all children). but when any adults are in the picture, we are always aware that things can turn in a second.

while the pursuit is definitely a part of the movie (and an important one), the cops-after-criminals/cat-and-mouse game isn't what this movie relies on. eastwood recognizes that the film really does rise and fall with the relationship that develops between the young boy and costner's character during their time on the run. and that is why the film works as well as it does!