ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Gran Torino (2008)

USA 116m, Colour
Director: Clint Eastwood; Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley, Doua Moua, Sonny Vue, Brian Haley

gran_torino_2008In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a geriatric version of Harry Callahan whose line “Make My Day” is replaced with “Get Off My Lawn”. Kowalski is a stubborn mean-spirited recently widowed Korean war veteran who continues to maintain his own home in what was once a middle-class white neighborhood, which has now become dominated by poor Asian immigrants and which suffers from rampant gang violence. Despite his overtly racist attitudes, Walt develops a friendship with Thao, a young man who hesitantly attempts to steal his prized 1972 Gran Torino as part of his initiation into the local gang. Despite the unlikelihood of such a change in a character like Walt Kowalski, Eastwood’s nuanced performance makes the transformation not only believable, but exceptionally entertaining (Klaus Ming February 2010).

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One comment on “Gran Torino (2008)

  1. klausming
    02/03/2010

    Having read some criticisms of Gran Torino since posting my review, I would add that Walt was a nasty piece of work for sure, and that I don’t think his self-sacrifice at the film’s end was meant as an apology for the racist attitudes and ethnic slurs (as some critics have suggested), or as an “excuse” for Eastwood’s portrayal of the character. Rather, I would argue that his sacrifice was a selfish act (in keeping with his character) – as he was simply tired of his own life that had lost much of its meaning, and that this act seemed an honorable way of going.

    Notwithstanding Walt’s many faults, you don’t have to like his character to appreciate or enjoy the film. I think criticisms of Gran Torino which are formed on this basis are similar to those of the often misunderstood “All in the Family” sitcom of the 1970s.

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This entry was posted on 02/02/2010 by in 2000s, All, Unlisted and tagged .
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