Gran Torino (2009)
Reviewed on 2009 July 22
Politically incorrect and shameless about it, starring Clint Eastwood in all his sneering glory and with a soft heart under its brittle shell.
The movie opens with a funeral and some quick broad strokes to show why our main character, Walter Kowalski (Eastwood) is such a hard case. His family is piece of work, especially his rotten grandchildren. We learn the funeral was for his wife and he’s alone now, except for his faithful Lab. While he misses his wife he seems to like his privacy just fine, or at least prefers it to the company of the rest of his annoying clan. Little does he know other plans are being made for him. A Hmong family moves next door to him, and soon Walt becomes a grouchy, reluctant mentor to Thao (Bee Vang), the son who’s targeted as a potential recruit by an Asian gang.
This is a pretty much a soap opera with lots of testosterone. (That’s not a complaint, just an observation.) I was wondering what the point of the racial epithets were — Eastwood’s character slung them at everyone, and even seemed to think it was funny when he was called a “pollock” — but I think he was less a racist and more of an equal opportunity misanthrope since no group was spared, not even his own. I’m not thrilled with that part of it but I can overlook it for the sake of the rest of the flick. The acting was great, especially from Bee Vang.
Three chocolate morsels.