Thursday, January 01, 2009

Gran Torino - Movie Review

With the holiday season upon us, there are a bunch of new movies making their way out just in time for the Oscar nods. Gran Torino was directed by and stars Clint Eastwood as a Korean War Vet who lives in a changing suburb of Detriot. A former auto worker, he's a stubborn old man and a racist. His wife just passed away and he's on his own. The neighborhood he lives in has changed from a white working class area to a Hmong neighborhood. Walt Kowalski doesn't want anything to do with the neighbors and thinks they are destroying the community. They don't take care of their laws and they don't take care of their houses.

He just says whatever he feels like when the son from next door Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang), comes over to borrow jumper cables, he calls him a gook and zipper head. Later the boy's cousin tries to get him involved in a Hmong gang and his initiation is to steal Kowalski's 1972 Grand Torino, a car he helped assemble.

Shortly after he chases Thao away, he stands up for the boy and his family when the cousin "Spider" comes by to try and take Thao out with him. Thao refuses and fights break out and old Walt shows up with a gun and chases off the gang.

So this is the beginning of a strange relationship that continues to grow with the family. The neighbors are so happy that he stood up to the gang boys they bring him food and flowers and all sorts of gifts.

Thao's sister Sue also has a run in with a black gang and Walt pulls out a gun and sets them straight. She then invites Walt to the house for one of the family gatherings for a beer and food. Walt replies fine, but just don't eat my dog. She says "We only eat Cats" joking around.

Now the family needs to pay a debt to Walt for Thao trying to steal the car. He makes the boy work off the debt by cleaning up the neighborhood, fixing fences and gardens. Eventually he teaches the boy about relationships and not letting the true love go. He ends up helping the boy get a job and when they boy gets picked on, he tries to settle it once and for all.

This causes a big confrontation with the family next door causing bullets to fly sue to get beat up. So now it's up to Walt to finish the score. That's all I will say in case you plan to see it.

I thought is was a pretty good movie. Eastwood does a fantastic job of playing the grumpy old racist man who doesn't have a relationship with his own boys and develops one with the neighbor boy. It's a good story with an interesting end.

I certainly would recommend seeing this one if you get a chance. I think Clint will get a couple Oscar nods for Director and Actor. Not sure that he will win, depends on who all gets nominated, but he did a great job.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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