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Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, an unassuming picture shot during a post-production lull on his elaborate period piece Changeling, was quietly rolled out at Christmastime 2008, whereupon it proceeded to blow away all the Oscar-bait behemoths at the box office and win its 78-year-old star the best reviews of his acting career. Both film and performance are consummately sly--coming on with deceptive simplicity, only to evolve into something complex, powerful, and surprisingly tender. Just as Unforgiven was a tragic reflection on Eastwood's legacy in the Western genre, Gran Torino caps and eloquently critiques the urban heritage of Dirty Harry and his violent brethren. And on top of that, the movie becomes a savvy meditation on America in a particular historical moment, racially, economically, spiritually. Call it a "state of the union" message. But call it that with a wry grin.
The latest Dirty Harry is actually a grumpy Walt: Walt Kowalski (Eastwood playing his own age), widower, Korean War veteran, retired auto worker, and the last white resident of his Detroit side street. It's hard to say who irks him more--his blood kin (a pretty lame bunch) or the Hmong families who are his new neighbors. Kowalski's a racist, because it has never occurred to him he shouldn't be. Besides, that's the flipside of the mutual ethnic baiting that serves as coin of affection for him and his working-class buddies. Circumstances--and two young people next door, the feisty Sue (Ahney Her) and her conflicted brother Thao (Bee Vang)--contrive to involve Walt with a new community, and anoint him as its hero after he turns his big guns on some ruffians. The trajectory of this may surprise you--several times over. Eastwood opted to film in economically blighted Detroit--a shrewd decision, but it's his mapping of Walt's world in that classical style of his that really counts. Every incidental corner of lawn, porch, and basement comes to matter--and by all means the workshop/garage that houses the mint-condition Gran Torino which Walt helped build in a more prosperous era. This is a remarkable movie. --Richard T. Jameson --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
Manning the Wheel Gran Torino: More Than a Car --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Fans of Dirty Harry especially will love this one, as Eastwood reprises his tough guy role. In here, he plays a retired Ford auto worker and widower who lives in a run-down Detroit neighborhood. When gangs threaten his livelihood as well as those of his neighbours, Eastwood takes matters into his own hands, in spectacular fasion. Simply put, one of the best and most entertaining movies of this decade. Very highly recommended.
I really enjoyed this movie, and believe me, I am very very picky and originally had no intention of picking up the title.
But my father wanted to see it so from there it came into my living room. We really enjoyed the mix and how they really showed how the older generations really judge the younger one and you see both good and bad sides of society, cultures and all.
If you are looking for something to relax and watch a friday evening, pick this title up, you are sure not to be disappointed.
Drama, 116 minutes
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carley, Bee Vang and Ahney Her
Gran Torino was a total surprise to me when I first viewed it. I had no idea what it might be about and the cover suggested it would be an action movie. With Clint Eastwood being almost 80 years of age at the time, I couldn't see how it would work.
It turns out that it isn't an action movie at all. The main themes include age, the loss of a loved one, racism, friendship, family, religion, and personal growth.
Walt Kowalsky is a Korean war veteran and one of the last white people in a neighborhood mostly populated by Hmong residents. The film opens with his wife's funeral. He's suddenly friendless and alone, but for the unwanted attention of his two sons and their families, who see him as a burden and wonder what he'll leave them when he dies.
The local priest (Carley) promised Walt's wife that he would keep an eye on Walt and try to get him to go to confession. His immediate neighbors annoy him; especially when their boy, Thao (Vang), tries to steal his beloved '72 Gran Torino. To complete Walt's misery, he's coughing up blood and may not have long to live.
That all sounds pretty miserable, doesn't it? Despite the grim situation, Gran Torino has a great deal of (intelligent) humor. Walt doesn't pull his punches: he refers to Asians as Gooks and Blacks as Spooks. He tells the persistent priest that he's an "over-educated 27-year-old virgin who likes to hold the hands of old ladies who are superstitious and promise them eternity." He speaks in grunts and snarls and seems to hate every person he deals with.
Walt is a complex character.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Another good one for Clint Eastwood fans and collectors. (with subs) and special features...Published 27 days ago by P.E.B.
Judging by the reviews on this website, I was expecting a better quality movie than this. Eastwood made quite a few great films, some are personal favourite of mine. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sly Holla
La fin a un suspend que je ne m'y attendais pas. Clint Eastwood joue un rôle de colérique, défenseur... à voir jusqu'à la fin.
Not normally a Clint fan, We enjoyed this movie. Our neighbourhood needs someone like this...Published 11 months ago by Willow Arune