Eastwood carries “Gran Torino”


Everyone knows of a grandparent who holds old world prejudices and stereotypes close to their heart. Everyone knows someone that is so old-fashioned and closed-minded that it makes others feel uncomfortable. Finally, there is a movie dedicated to this colorful character in our lives.

Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” takes this character and makes him the most detested person in the world.

He growls stereotypes under his breath about race and ethnicity and disowns his family because they bought a non-American car. This is a man so rude and ignorant he will deny help of any kind to remain an independent, grumpy old man.

This character is so aged, bold and rude that only Eastwood himself could portray such a person.

He fits perfectly in this role and is able to perform beautifully due to the fact that he is basically playing a shade of himself. When watching the movie, it feels like watching a typical weekend at the Eastwood household.

“Gran Torino” illuminates the life of Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), a Korean War veteran whose pleasant, predominately white neighborhood is becoming an “Asian ghetto.” Walt feels attached to this neighborhood and doesn’t want to give it up to any foreigners.

A common feeling of resentment between the neighbors and Walt makes for a very hostile environment.

However, when Walt threatens some local gangbangers for stepping on his lawn, he unwillingly becomes the protector of the neighborhood. With the help of his Hmong teenaged neighbors, Walt slowly becomes more open and gets attached to his neighbors more so than his family.

Eastwood’s acting was all too believable and may be the only saving grace for the film.

The rest of the supporting cast was able to develop and carry on the storyline, but did little beyond that.

The film was simple and dull but was able to depict Walt’s transformation very clearly.

The storyline displayed exquisite character development but lacked the intensity to keep the audience’s interest throughout two hours of Eastwood spouting racial epithets.

With teeth-bearing scowls, old Western standoffs and gun battles in the middle of the street, “Torino” is set-up like a classic Eastwood Western.

All that’s missing are sombreros and tequila.