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Plot: Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood. Runtime: 116 mins Release Date: 12 Mar 2008
As Clint Eastwood reaches the end of his life, he presents us with yet another performance which is nothing short of legendary. Wishing to preserve the element of surprise, I will not reveal anything by trying to analyse this great work of art. I will say this. There are similar qualities to his previous work, but I would say that both his directing and acting have reached a level of maturity comparable to that of an excellent wine. The story was compelling and, mixed with the drama was a refined touch of humour; the perfect combination for a pleasant evening. I would like to finish by <more>
thanking Mr. Eastwood for sharing this touching moment with his audience at a time when most of the cinematic "art" produced in Hollywood consists of stunts and bad jokes.
Amazing Film...Eastwood deserves an Oscar!!! (by bill2594)
I saw the film and it was unbelievable. Clint Eastwood will have you laughing so hard you almost pee yourself while at the same time breaking your heart and making you want to cry. The movie takes you on a roller-coaster ride and the entire theater stood up in applause afterward. I highly recommend this film and if Eastwood doesn't get nominated for an Oscar something is truly wrong!!! The screening I saw was held at the Writer's Guild, so the room was filled with SAG, WGA, DGA, and other industry related people who I would wage know their movies. At points the entire room was <more>
laughing so loud I couldn't hear, and then minutes later all you could hear were the sniffles from people crying. The film has drama, comedy, and action and Clint Eastwood really creates a character that you care about and cheer for...again!
Another top-notch, Clint Eastwood film that entertains and teaches. (by Len9876)
Manohla Dargis writes in the New York Times: "Dirty Harry is back, in a way, in "Gran Torino," not as a character but as a ghostly presence. He hovers in the film, in its themes and high-caliber imagery, and of course most obviously in Mr. Eastwood's face. It is a monumental face now, so puckered and pleated that it no longer looks merely weathered, as it has for decades, but seems closer to petrified wood. Words like flinty and steely come to mind, adjectives that Mr. Eastwood ... expressively embodies with his usual lack of fuss and a number of growls." More praise <more>
for Eastwood comes from Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, who comments: "No one makes movies like Gran Torino any more, and more's the pity. This one, with Clint Eastwood as director and star, is concerned with honor and atonement, with rough justice and the family of man. It raises irascibility to the level of folk art, takes unapologetic time-outs for unfashionable moral debates, revives acting conventions that haven't been in fashion for half a century and keeps you watching every frame as Mr. Eastwood snarls, glowers, mutters, growls and grins his way through the performance of a lifetime." Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News remarks that "it's clearly a career-capping work." Kenneth Turan in The Los Angeles Times writes that the movie "is impossible to imagine without the actor in the title role. The notion of a 78-year-old action hero may sound like a contradiction in terms, but Eastwood brings it off, even if his toughness is as much verbal as physical. Even at 78, Eastwood can make 'Get off my lawn' sound as menacing as 'Make my day,' and when he says 'I blow a hole in your face and sleep like a baby,' he sounds as if he means it."There are at least four reason why I like this film: 1. Clint Eastwood shows that the character he is playing is willing to serve in a war-- and die if necessary--to preserve freedom and he has a medal to prove it , 2. he has grown old and the whole world has changed and everyone around him seems to indicate--in one way or another--that he is no appreciated or needed , 3. even with a transformation, he demonstrates that people tend to be reactive--rather than responsive--and are slow to change this is particularly true with bias, discrimination, and prejudice , and 4. that tolerance can lead to understanding he tries to give tough love, but he becomes softer in his response--instead of his reaction--after giving and receiving genuine love . It seems that everyone around him wants his Gran Torino and everything else he owns, before he even has died, instead of being interested in him. He lives in a community that is transformation, and he knows absolutely nothing about culture, diversity, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. He does know about aging, however if nowhere else, he learns about it from people's adverse and negative reactions, everywhere around him . He isn't exactly treated with dignity and respect, so why should he treat anyone else with dignity and respect? And, trust must be earned.If this is Clint Eastwood's last film, I can only say that that his performance, in this stunning film, is what legends are made of. There are some wonderful performances in "Milk" Sean Penn , "Australia" Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman , "Changeling" Angelina Jolie and director Clint Eastwood , and "The Dark Knight" a riveting performance by "Brokeback Mountain's" Heath Ledger . In viewing all of these films, there are performances that are not only superb, but they evoke every one of the emotions and carry the intellect and intelligence of human cognitions to the highest pinnacle of excellence. As a gay person, I must say that I am moved by Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk, I am moved by the romantic chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and I would be remiss if I did not mention Angelina Jolie's flawless and moving performance. But, I give the top honor to Clint Eastwood for giving us films that educate and entertain. And, "Gran Torino" 2008 is no exception. One cannot walk away from a Clint Eastwood film, without saying that they haven't learned something, or without saying just like the legendary Ethel Merman used to sing 'there's no business quite like show business'. I rank "Gran Torino" 2008 a 10 out of 10. Clint Eastwood's performance is more than another version of 'Dirty Harry'. In fact, his portrayal is reminiscent of the Paul Newman character in "Nobody's Perfect".
I feel like I should let everyone reading this know of my inherent bias in favor of this film. I have seen twenty eight films from Clint Eastwood as director and have liked the vast majority of them, and loved a good number of them my average rating for the 28 films is 7.9 . Still, something felt off about "Gran Torino" based on the trailer. I read it as Eastwood trying to be 'badass' again, trying to be Dirty Harry again. "Gran Torino" is not that. Walt Kowalski may have similarities with Dirty Harry, and could possibly be read as a significantly older version of <more>
Harry it's a stretch , but he is a distinctive, memorable character on his own, and I'd go as far as saying that it's one of Eastwood's finest performances, and one which gives him a chance to show off his dramatic and comedic chops.I'm not going to argue that "Gran Torino" has perfect acting from the younger supporting cast. It doesn't. In fact, some of them are downright bad at times, but the film works in spite of its flaws. This screenplay was probably written with Eastwood in mind I am not sure of the behind-the-scenes details on this and it shows. He captures Kowalski perfectly. The film is surprisingly humorous, something that isn't being captured well enough in advertising. It's absolutely hilarious at times watch as Kowalski attempts to make a man out of Thao by teaching him how to talk like men do , and Eastwood handles the shifts in tone brilliantly. When the film takes a dark turn towards the end I sat on the edge of my seat in suspense, fully aware of where it was heading but still mesmerized by Eastwood's tour-de-force direction. This is an artist at his prime as an actor and as a director.Whether or not "Gran Torino" will hold up as one of Eastwood's great films remains to be seen, and the film feels like it would be good for multiple viewings. The characterization is strong and not simplistic at all, you could argue that Kowalski is just another grouchy war vet, but Eastwood's beautiful, nuanced performance as well as some neat little touches in the screenplay particularly towards the end which I won't discuss in detail to avoid spoiling anything and it's really fun to watch this movie unfold, Eastwood keeps the film moving at a wonderfully involving pace would prove you wrong. The film works on yet another level as a deconstruction of Eastwood's image. I don't mean that as a negative, it just adds to the film's strength as a character study.It's a more intimate film than Eastwood's other film this year, "Changeling", and also on a smaller scale than many of his other films, but it's just as ambitious in many ways. This is not a politically correct film about a grouchy old racist suddenly turning into the most tolerant person around, it is a film about a man who, near the end of his life, is forced to confront his demons, and on the sunnier side about a man who finds true friendship where he least expected it. By the end of "Gran Torino" I had forgiven any flaws it might have, and was completely satisfied with the film, which far exceeded my expectations. I have a feeling that "Gran Torino", which has already been met with strongly positive reviews but is still being described as a 'minor' Eastwood film by some , will eventually become an especially important part of Eastwood's filmography.
Clint is the best director in Hollywood and still one of the great actors (by scottedwards007)
seeing the trailer for this film kinda made me expect id be watching Dirty Harry in the suburbs.What I saw was a bittersweet superbly written, well acted story of humanity and friendship,this film is something that we can all relate to in some way, and isn't Hollywooded up in anyway, the film tells it story without any un needed hidden undertones that so many mainstream directors do to films.Eastwood is excellent as the hard nosed war vet, and his direction is perfect as always, and supporting cast did there job just fine tooClint Eastwood was perfect for the role and as director, as he <more>
has the knack of taking a story and making a film for the audience to get sucked into the story, and not for critics to pick apart....great film making,
Gran Torino - They don't make them like they used to....Mr. Eastwood has a knack for storytelling. Instead of being preachy or having an all to obvious agenda, he lets his viewers make up their own minds. His characters don't have a message, they have a life and make no excuses for who they are. In so many subtle and intelligent ways we are allowed to make our own choices. Like with Kowalski in the movie, you are not confronted with a role model hammering home all those "life's important messages", but rather with a movie saying "Look! This is the way it worked out <more>
for me. And I think I know a few tricks that might help you, but in the end it's your own life. However, you have to trust me when I say that there are a some things you don't want to see or experience!". Some people will leave this movie entirely untouched, others will certainly be crying their guts out. Not because some people "get it" and others "don't", but because it is a brilliant piece of entertainment reaching out to every viewer in its own specific way.Eastwood's acting is top notch again, although the years have not been very kind to his voice. The rest of the cast are fine, but one can certainly spot their more amateurish backgrounds here and there which is the main reason why I could not give this one a 10/10.Apart from that there is little to criticize. It's not an action movie, not a drama movie and certainly not a comedy even though you get a few laughs out of this one . It's simply a good story about life.....and death.
Great whether in front or behind the camera. (by come2whereimfrom)
Hot on the heels of 'Changeling' Eastwood is back and as well as directing he is back in front of the camera. He plays Walt Kowalski a recently widowed ex-Vietnam veteran who harbours slight racism and bitterness which isn't helped by the changing world he now lives in alone. He has relatives but they only seem to call when they want something and his grandkids have already started deciding what they will have of his when he dies. He has a few mates he drinks with in the pub but other than that his neighbourhood is being overrun by immigrants and gang warfare. Walt's next door <more>
neighbours are a Hmong family with no father figure and after the son tries to steal his prize car, the 'Grand Torino' of the title, Walt decides to try and reform the boy and hopefully as time passes learn about their culture and change his mind before he dies. As with all Eastwood films where you begin isn't where you will end up and the story takes many turns that will test all of your emotions, I laughed, I cried and I got angry it's a real roller-coaster. But its Clint's aged 'Dirty Harry' in Walt that steals the show and anytime he is on screen he is mesmerising which means that the supporting cast members are barely noticeable. At times it plays like Lynch's 'Straight Story' with sprinkles of 'Taxi Driver' but the real beauty is in the old fashioned storytelling, something that Clint is a dab hand at, mix that with the modern day context and you have a gripping and enthralling film. It's no wonder that so many 'best of year' lists contain this film, they should, it is that good and it proves that even at 78 Eastwood is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to movies in front or behind the camera or in the case of 'Grand Torino' both.
Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have messed with? That's me. (by lastliberal)
I sat in a full theater with what I suspect was a crowd older than me. You have to have a crowd like that to appreciate what Eastwood was trying to say.The crowd laughed at all the right parts in the movie: the time when Eastwood's character would let out a stream of non-PC comments, and the time when he stood down the punks.Maybe we have become a nation that is too PC and I believe Eastwood was telling us that. The old man had his ghosts and it was eating at him from inside. He couldn't relate to any other world. A man has to do what a man has to do is the saying, I believe. If you <more>
can't understand that, than you are not a man, just someone to be pitied or ridiculed.But, there was a soft side of the character that opened the door to a relationship with a young man who really needed a father. The relationship grew so great that Eastwood's character did the most noble thing one man could do for another.Eastwood was magnificent, Ahney Her was a treasure, and Bee Vang was perfect. I really hope to see more of these two in the future.
Not the story of a car, but of two unlikely friends on the same road (by das417)
Gran Tarino is the story not of a car but of a man who discovers that there is a meaning to his life. The problem isn't that his life is difficult. The problem is that he sees no reason to enjoy life. A dead wife, distant kids, and a neighborhood falling apart around him, give him the idea that there isn't much to live for. It will be two unlikely friends who will change his mind.Walt Kowalski Clint Eastwood is bitter. Alone and single, living in the house he has called home for years, he can only sit and watch as the world around him descends into what he sees as madness. Immigrant <more>
families moving in around him, gangs running around his neighborhood, and his own sickness, leave him little to hope for. Every neighborhood has that one old man who is angry and Walt is very much the local angry recluse who would rather use racial slurs than smile and say hello. Walt also has little problem sharing his feelings about Father Janovich Christopher Carley , the priest his wife confided in before her death. Not only does Walt seems to hate Asian ethnic groups, he hates religion and devout priests.Next door a Hmong immigrant family has moved in. Shy and timid Thao Bee Vang , and his bold sister Sue Ahney Her , live with their widowed mother and attempt to fit into both Hmong and American culture. The problem is that when a local Hmong gang attempts to "recruit" Thao, they find themselves on the defense. It is then that their paths will cross with their racist neighbor who will become a kind of father figure and hero not only to them and their family but also the local Hmong community.Gran Tarino is a story about redemption. Not only for Walt, whose bitterness begins to fade as he slowly befriends first Sue and then Thao, but also for Thao himself who finds himself forced to redeem his honor after his attempt to steal Walt's Gran Tarino. The two are opposite in almost every way but they will learn from each other important truths that both needed to discover. Walt, insensitive to cultures different from his own, will discover that he enjoys spending time with immigrants he once despised. Thao will learn from Walt courage and the strength to stand up to those around him. Walt will also learn that his past experiences in the Korean War, experiences that have haunted him to this day, no longer have to be the burden they always have been.Some have complained about the acting by the Hmong actors and actresses used. However, there was a sense of cultural realness in the use of Bee Vang, Ahney Her, and the other Hmongs. The use of these new actors and actresses along with the experience of Clint Eastwood was a contrast that worked well for Gran Tarino. Walt's character seemed more real in dealing with kids and not professional actors. The dialogue was more valid and seemed realistic in terms of the cultural and age differences.There is some plot weakness that holds back Gran Tarino from being a notable classic. The conflict with the gang feels tacked on at times and distracts from the character development of Walt and Thao. Clint Eastwood's direction is notable, but the writing itself is weak in terms of trying to create a more vivid conflict. A more powerful conflict would have been Walt dealing with his own cancer and his struggling relationship with his two sons. Walt's death is a Christ like moment where he is the savior for Thao and Sue but also the one being saved himself. A touching ending, but one that felt forced.One of the best films to showcase Clint Eastwood's talent as an actor and director, Gran Tarino is worth watching and good ending to a career that has lasted over three decades. Not a perfect movie, but one that will be remembered as one of Clint's most humane stories.8/10