That's always been Eastwood's appeal -- the imperial authority that he projects on the screen. In Unforgiven, he uses that authority to deliver an anti-violence message that is truly powerful, never shrill and preachy.
Unforgiven plays out its drama with enough old-fashioned sobriety to lend the proceedings a classical air... It also incorporates enough latter-day cynicism, though, to comply with contemporary Hollywood fashion.
The great Orson Welles once stated that Clint Eastwood was the most underrated filmmaker in America, and the sobering footnote is that he passed away in 1985, well before Eastwood began to be taken seriously as an artist by most critics and moviegoers.