Movie Review – Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood is a grumpy old man. Or at least, he is as Walt in Gran Torino. Starting with the funeral of his wife, we’re quickly and explicitly put in the picture – he doesn’t get on with his family, he has no religion, and he’s a Korean war veteran. Then there’s Thao, a teenager whose family has just moved in next door. He has no father, and his cousin is trying to get him into a local gang. The initiation for this is to steal a car – Walt’s Gran Torino, but Walt scares him off at gunpoint. From then on it’s a tale about Walt’s relationship with Thao and the Hmong community, and the animosity of the gang.
It’s reasonably well scripted, despite the early reliance on heavy handed exposition – after about half an hour I was hooked – and there’s a lot of humour in there. The cinematography brings some beauty to a run-down area, and the performances are pretty good, especially considering that many of the Hmong actors had no film experience. It’s typical Clint Eastwood fare, and by that I mean “don’t expect happy endings in this well-made film”.

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