Stars: **** out of Four
Summary: Aging actor/director Clint Eastwood delivers an understated, truly moving motion picture.
Review: This was my first R-rated film in theaters. I couldn’t have picked a better one at the time. I’m very disappointed this film was snubbed by the Academy this year. It at least deserved a nomination for Best Picture, though I would argue it holds up well in almost every category.
Clint Eastwood leads as Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski, a bitter, racist old badass who recently lost his wife to old age. With his old dog and his shiny muscle car, the titular Gran Torino, for company, he sits on his porch drinking beer and warily watching Hmong immigrants move in next door. His adult children try to move him into a retirement home, but he refuses with a few choice words. He’s sort of an old Dirty Harry, one of those guys you just don’t mess with under any circumstances. After a few encounters with the children of the afore mentioned immigrants, he is slowly drawn into a conflict with a local gang. Along the way he becomes a changed man.
Though filled with very crude language and some questionable discussion matter (to say the least), this only serves to underscore the characters. It makes them real people, not caricitures.
This is a fantastic film, one of the greatest dramas I’ve ever seen. It was much better than the leader in nominations for the Oscars this year, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’. There is an important comparison I’d like to make between the endings of these two films, but I’ll do so in a seperate study.