These confined spaces are like a coffin, from which the characters can contemplate or anticipate death (that of others, but also their own) 105. Larger spaces can act as tombs: the city as it is filmed at the end of Mystic River is like a vast territory populated by corpses. The camera traverses the traces left by the children in the cement before flying over the city to finally dive into the river, where the character of Dave Boyle perishes. The use of the sequence shot, to unify all these places, reinforces the spectral dimension of the space, above which hovers the shadow of death129. Claustration, again, in Letters from Iwo Jima, when the Japanese soldiers find themselves on a black and hostile island, immersed in ignorance (they do not know if the war is over), hanging on to their fate that we guess tragic130. Claustration, again, in the suffering that blinds Francesca in On the road to Madison: “the world (the bridges of Iowa) is literally no more than a cemetery” 93. Once the dead are buried, the psychopompic figures continue to link the living and the dead: it is the role of Minerva and Billy Hanson in Midnight in the garden of good and evil, of Robert Kincaid in On the road to Madison, by Eddie Scrap or Frankie Dunn in Million Dollar Baby96.
The relationship an isolated individual forges with the rest of a community is a recurring subject in Eastwood’s work – and this is in part what brings his work closer to that of John Ford. This relationship can only be painful, because the community is often represented there as a dangerous, malicious or even falsely protective entity. In L’Homme des Hautes Plaines, the observation is bitter: according to Guilhem Caillard, the “Eastwoodian morality that some people once endorsed as reactionary is the lack of solidarity between falsely idealistic men that works in favor of their loss. The tone is so intense that the city of Lago becomes Dantesque (smeared with red), bordering a lake which would echo the concentric organization of the descent into hell “128. In Outlaw Josey Wales, the community absolves past crimes for the sake of national reconciliation. The character of Josey, played by Eastwood himself, refuses this amnesty (or amnesia) in which he sees a state lie. The character’s quest is to rebuild a viable community, cleansed of its crimes89. The motif of the community gangrened by vice, lies or corruption is also present in Mystic River, in Midnight in the garden of good and evil, Judged guilty or in The Exchange.
In Eastwood, therefore, the individual is defined first of all “against” others, in reaction to the rest of men: with him, “every community is the result of a primitive fault that the struggle for survival forces, in the long term, to to endorse. The community has no way out except in solitude and refusal, the only beginning which, by definition, is not ”, writes Franck Kausch127. This is why the Eastwood characters suffer from an original lack, from a lost innocence whose origin they do not even know.