Friday Review: Gran Torino
Name: Gran Torino
Starring: Clint Eastwood (also directed and produced by him)
DT’s Rating: 9/10
I watched Gran Torino fairly recently, not quite knowing what to expect. It had gotten good reviews, but my relationship with Clint Eastwood as an actor was vague (i never did get to watch Dirty Harry, though i intend to one day, and I’ve never been a cowboy fan) so i didn’t know if it’d be my cup of tea. Luckily, i wasn’t disappointed, and it’s definitely worth the good reviews it’s gotten.
Basically, Clint is an ageing, sour, blatantly racist veteran who is recently widowed with a no-good selfish family (but not in a ‘wicked stepmother’ kind of way, but a more subtle and real hopelessly self-involved and clueless way). He is left in a street that has soon become a ghetto for the Asian immigrant community and refuses to move out. There he meets a mhong (pardon me if I got the name/spelling wrong) family who he both fights with and warms to, and gradually becomes embroiled in the gang conflicts within the neighbourhood centring around this family and the young man he soon takes under his wing.
The trailers of this film seemed to try to play on Clint Eastwood’s gritty action roots and craft this up as some sort of kick-ass vigilante film. In reality it’s much subtler (and in my opinion, better for it). The thrust of the film is mainly in the well written and oddly endearing character of Clint’s, his progression as a person who comes to accept his neighbours, and his relationship with the teen he gradually helps to turn into a man. It’s slow paced and quiet, but in such a way like many good films are, allowing the characters plenty of room to breathe, which means that when the community-shattering violence -(which is very real in portrayal and frank without being melodramatic)- happens, it hits all the harder. The ending of the film is quite a twist (though the predictability of it can be debated), but certainly takes a step away from cliché to give a moving end to a great little film and a great character development.
I’d definitely recommend it. 9/10