Gran Torino

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by Nick Schenk
Story by Dave Johannson & Nick Schenk
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley, Brian Haley, Brian Howe
Release Year: 2008
IMDB rating: 8.4

Clint Eastwood is back! This time as an elderly war veteran whose wife just died. Living alone in a neighborhood with most of them are Hmong people, Walt Kowalski is also having an inconvenient relationship with his two sons. As a war veteran, he still could not shake away his memories during his service in Korea. When his Hmong neighbor, Thao, tried to steal his Gran Torino, the relationship between the two started. Initially feeling uncomfortable with his neighbors, Walt began to find a new ‘family’. When a problem with Hmong teenage gangsters came up, Walt would be caught in between the gangsters and his newly found family.

Walt Kowalski may not be as tough as Dirty Harry, but at least he had the same menacing impression, while Thao and his sister Sue were well played by Bee Vang & Ahney Her, respectively. The acting in the movie is centered in these three people. Walt’s family members were given smaller roles as well as Father Janovich. Dialogues were good. Despite his menacing look, Walt was rather a funny person in his own way, if you observe his dialogues and monologues. Various impressions from anger, guilt, fear, and happiness were there in Walt Kowalski’s character, and Clint Eastwood definitely played this character well.

Although the ending was rather a surprise for me, I considered it as a very good ending. I’m not going to spoil it here, but I’d say it was a great one. The pace of the story was also good, building up the suspense up to the end of the movie. If asked what’s the point of the whole story anyway, well I’d say that that was actually mentioned sometime during the movie when Father Janovich talked to Walt about life and death. Walt felt that he knew a lot about death from his service in Korea, while he was unable to answer what he knew about life. This movie was about Walt finally found the answer to the latter question.

Even with just three core characters, the movie was very enjoyable, and both acting and the plot were very good. I’d give it an 8.0, at par with Changeling.

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