Thursday, June 4, 2009

Review: Gran Torino

I didn't really grow up as a fan of Clint Eastwood. I haven't seen any of the Dirty Harry movies or any of his westerns (outside of Unforgiven). I do find myself becoming more of an Eastwood fan as he and I get older. Eastwood's last two movies in which he has had the staring role have been extremely enjoyable. I can't compare them to his earlier work personally, but I believe Eastwood is becoming a better actor with age.
In Gran Torino, Clint plays the grumpy old man role to a tee. All throughout the film he's scowling and growling, complaining about the multi-racial community he lives in and forever stuck in his stuborn habits. After Walt (Clint's Korean war veteran character in the movie) sees his wife pass at the beginning of the movie, he starts to totally shun himself from contact with his neighbors or family. After recluctantly befriending a young Asian girl in the adjacent house, he opens up to her Vietnamese family next door and over time becomes a mentor to Thao, a shy boy who finds himself bullied by a local Asian gang. In dealing with the gang throughout the movie, Eastwood gives Walt an unexpected bad-ass quality rarely seen in roles given to actors over the age of 75.

I won't give any key plot details away, but most of the movie showcases Walt's relationship with Thao and how he tries to teach to be more of a man. There are numerous curse words and racial slurs throughout and all are delievered with hysterical precision by Eastwood and his supporting cast.
There really is a heart to the overall story and I found myself emphasizing with Walt and his attempt to change his ways. This is a very good movie (one of the best of 2008) and probably deserved to be nominated for Best Picture over lesser films like The Reader and Frost/Nixon. I recommend this film most everyone especially those who have a taste for racial humor. 4.5 JR's for this near-perfect movie which I doubt Clint will be able to top after the back-to-back punch of Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.


T. said...

Just watched it finally. Great movie!!

Doe said...

"Emphasizing with Walt" is something Craig might write.