Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gran Torino (2008)


Gran Torino is a very politically incorrect movie. It has many other redeeming features. The acting of Clint Eastwood is one. His acting is superb. Actually, that is the primary reason why I rented the movie the first week it was out (last week). The video store clerk told me he could hardly keep the film on the self since it was released last Tuesday. After watching it I could see why.

Eastwood plays a hardened, tough, gruff, but gravely ill senior citizen, Walt Kowalski, who just lost his wife, Dorothy. She was the love of his life. The impression I got was she was his whole life. He retired from the Ford plant where he put the last steering wheel into the last Gran Torino that came off the assembly line. He proudy owns that vehicle. The green Gran Torino co-stars with Eastwood.

We see this grouchy, Korean War veteran who say a lot of action and partook in a lot of killing during the war try to adjust to life without Dorothy. He lives by himself in a changing neighborhood, apparently filmed in Detroit, where his neighbors happen to be Hmongs (refugees from the Mountains of Vietnam). He tries to have nothing to do with these ‘chinks.’ The local parish priest had promised to ‘take care of Walt.’ But Walt tries his best to blow off the padre. His Hmong neighbors try to befriend him, he rejects their attempts. His sons and their families try to console them, but there never was any deep relationships and he throws them out of the house when they visit on his birthday bearing gifts of a large numbered telephone and a reacher, meant to help him reach things on the top shelf. The man is fit and fit to be tied.

The rest of the movie involves dealing with some of the not so friendly neighbors haunting the neighborhood, gang bangers of assorted ethnicity and color.

One caution is the violence that ensues when Walt butts head with some of the creeps in the neighborhood on the edge of becoming a ghetto. The macho Clint Eastwood shines even at his ripe old age. Another caution is the crude and course language found in gangster rap music lyrics. That is why the movie has an R rating.

The movie is for mature adults and late teens. It is not for the politically correct crowd or the sensitive. easily offended, or do-gooders of life.

In the end this very outwardly antisocial, very mean, unfriendly guy reveals his true inner character.


Even though it is a very violent and at times extremely vile language is displayed, the message of the movie is inspiring. Eventually Walt does make friends and makes an indelible mark on his neighborhood. I would give the movie **** out of ***** and only because of the excessive violence and filthy language, though to a certain extent both are necessary to get the point across.

It is definitely not a movie for younger children or immature teens or adults.

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