How Clint Eastwood Inspired One 2021 Film Set in Ireland

by Madison Miller

One film director felt the impact of the seemingly “dying” Western genre on their recent film.

The movie “Belfast,” directed by Kenneth Branagh, is a semi-autobiographical comedy movie that focuses on what life was like in the late 1960s in the Northern Ireland capital. The film follows a working-class family and their youngest child during this tumultuous time.

The Impact of Clint Eastwood and Westerns on Recent Drama Film

Branagh is also known for directing the popular Marvel film, “Thor.” The movie stars Jamie Dornan and Caitríona Balfe as the parents and young Jude Hill as the son. So far, the movie has received seven different nominations for the Golden Globe awards.

Although, based on the plot, the movie seems nothing like what we consider a traditional Western picture, Branagh revealed that he was heavily influenced by the genre. He cited that he can see aspects of the movie “Unforgiven,” specifically Clint Eastwood’s performance, in his film.

“In those scenes [with Jamie Dornan], I felt like I was writing a western. A picture that I love is Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven.’ You’ll recall from the poster, it’s shot from behind him, low, and his hands are on a gun. It was the idea of the kid seeing his dad as a mountain. That’s what he needed to see. He also needed to see a big Belfast sky as well. And then you’ve got Billy Clanton [the film’s Protestant militant] who is a kind of tinpot Hitler sneaking into a power vacuum, becoming Jack Palance from Shane: the raven-haired, implacable villain. Somehow we started to put those images together,” Branagh said during an interview with Vulture.

Although there are no swinging revolvers, horses, and cowboys, some of the themes and technical choices for “Belfast” can mirror that of an older Western movie. That notorious Western hero trope was very visible on the set of this Ireland-based movie.

Visually, Western fans are going to want to see “Belfast” because it’s going to feel like a blast to the past in more ways than one. The movie also has several different pop culture mentions that certain generations will know all too well.

Clint Eastwood Always Feels Inspired

Not only does Clint Eastwood leave generations of actors and directors feeling inspired, but he also feels that inspiration himself.

During his ongoing career, Eastwood has had more than 70 acting roles and 45 directing credits. Despite being 91, Clint Eastwood isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. For him, making movies and working doesn’t feel like a chore at all. It feels like a privilege.

“I’m constantly figuring out what I’m going to do next. I still love taking somebody’s idea, whether it’s a book or a play, and developing it. Maybe other people want to do a few movies and quit, and that’s great. Maybe they’ve got something else they could do and keep busy. I don’t. I love movies and enjoy making them,” Eastwood said during an interview with Parade.