Friday, May 1, 2009

Gran Torino [2008]

Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her
Genre: Drama
Points: 90 out of 100
Rating: General (gangsterism, bloodless violence)
Comment: "Even at 79, Clint Eastwood is still a badass..."

Veteran 'tough guy' actor Clint Eastwood is back after two years of working behind the camera. Despite the air given out by the promotion of the film, this is no Dirty Harry or even the Dollars Trilogy. Similar to other aging action stars, Clint Eastwood opted for a more dramatic role but at the same time retaining the same grittiness that made his tough guy roles so memorable.

The story goes like this; after the death of his wife, Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) feels even more distanced from his own family - whom he perceives as "spoiled and self-absorbed". The bitter but not unlikeable Kowalski becomes unintentionally entangled to his Hmong neighbours and eventually begins to think of their family as his own.

Although Gran Torino here is a reference to Kowalski's prized vehicle, I'd like to think that it serves a higher purpose than merely aesthetics; it is a symbol of Kowalski himself - old, but still a powerful force that just won't go away without a fight.

A theme which I find touching is the theme of racism and it's foolishness. While it is not 100% relevant to our own situation, the point is made clear. Regardless of the colour of our skin, humans will always hurt each other, and it is also up to humans to protect and take care of each other. It is really the colour of our hearts that sets us apart - not our skin or facial features.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Old school "badassism"
- Meaningful themes

The Bad [-10]
- A bit slow moving

100 - 10 = 90 points

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