"Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have (messed) with? That's me." As the spitting, swearing, hate-spewing lead character of "Gran Torino," Clint Eastwood delivers a performance as America's most lovable vigilante. It is an odd enjoyable film that doesn't require anything from its audience than attention. while it is the sort of film critics love to gnaw on, and also a movie made for popcorn munchers.
Often loners or outcasts, typically establishes his heroism by rescuing or saving a group of racial minorities who are depicted as too childlike, infirm, or weak defend themselves from peril. In “Gran Torino,” Eastwood’s Kowalski takes the image of heroism to a new level.
PlotIn the opening scene of this extraordinary spiritual movie, Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), a Korean War veteran, is standing in front of a working-class Detroit Catholic church at the funeral of his beloved wife. He scowls at the disrespect evidenced by the unruly children of his two upscale sons. Walt sits on his porch all day long, when he's not doing house repairs or working on his prized 1972 Gran Torino. Kowalski carries the same anger and scorn for others to his urban neighborhood, including the Asian family next door. They are Hmong immigrants, whose people hail from Laos and Thailand; during the Vietnam War they helped the Americans and when the Yanks left, they fled for their lives.
He has no use at all for the family next door. But when a group of Hmong gangbangers tries to recruit Thao (Bee Vang) and the ensuing disturbance spills onto his lawn, Walt is suddenly involved in his neighbors' lives. When he sees Sue, Thao's sister being harassed by some African-American punks, he rescues her from harm's way. This endears him to his neighbors even more. And over time, with traditional Asian food and Chinese beer breaks down his defenses. Is it a believable transformation? Eastwood, at times laugh-out-loud funny, at others surprisingly ugly in what he says (occasionally both at the same time), makes Walt's change seem genuine.
AnalysisEastwood puts in a stellar performance as Kowalski, a working-class stiff whose toxic prejudice is slowly whittled away through his contact with his Hmong neighbors. The pleasure in watching this miracle take place is what makes Gran Torino one of the best films. He also directed the movie, from a screenplay by Nich Schenk. Hmong roles were filled by nonpros and quite adequately so. As Thao, Bee Vang shows more growth and development of personality. He and Eastwood evidence the right amount of chemistry - certainly enough to allow us to believe that they care for each other against all odds. Ahney Her as Thao's sister, Sue, gives a bright and energetic performance. Apart from the lead characters Sue is the one we're most likely to remember long after the end credits have expired.
The film gets extra points for its climax and unconventional resolution, which i will not disclose here. The movie serves as a reflection of how human beings view one another. Of course, it could be argued that as it is a White writer, all that is being presented is a limited Euro-centric view of the world.But, films that deal with inter-communal dialogue, will always face criticism from at least one direction, or perhaps many. The fact that racism and humanism can be delivered within the same film, is the exact brilliance of this film.
One more reason to watch the movie : What other figure in the history of the cinema has been an actor for 55 years, a director for 38, won two Oscars for direction, two more for best picture, and at 79 can direct himself in his own film and look meaner than hell? None, that's how many.
Gran Torino - Imdb
Rated R for language, and some violence