I watched Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino yesterday. I liked the film and I would not mind seeing it again. That being said I think it's only fair to let you know that I like alot of Clint's movies especially the westerns.
I love the trilogy A fist full of dollars, A few dollars more and the good, the bad and the ugly. I also enjoyed Pale Rider and The Outlaw Josie Wales. I draw the line at the Dirty Harry stuff.
The Original Anti-Hero. I think that Eastwood brings out his best and worst qualities of his other work in Gran Torino.
He plays Walt Kowalski, A Midwestern, Buy American, Korean War Vet, who has basically become a dinosaur. In the minds of everybody, Walt can't die fast enough. Eastwood uses Walt's anger and rage much better than that piece of crap "Falling Down" that Michael Douglas was in.
The World didn't turn out like Walt thought. He worked for Ford, fought in the war, raised his children and bought a house. The American Dream right? Now he's the only White dude in his neighborhood, he's widowed, his children and grandchildren would like to stick him in a home not cause he can't take care of himself but because they want him out of the way. He's out of date and should just go out to pasture. His neighborhood is now mostly Asian/Hmong people. Walt's a racist asshole and most of the time he's treated like a sacred white cow. That's one of the good parts of the movie. Walt is a character! He's old, Grizzled. and he has values that he feels have been betrayed. He worked for Ford but his son sells Toyota's. The Gran Torino, that he built himself on the assembly line, sits under a tarp in mint condition.
The only thing his oldest Grandchile can think to ask is "Can I have it when you uuuuh die"? There's no love lost with his family, but his Hmong neighbors well they get to know him, and he gets to know them. Ya see, Walt was not an abusive father, he did not neglect his kids or his wife! He was there, he worked, they were fed, they were clothed, they were educated. He thought that was what love was. He loved them! But it wasn't enough. The film does a good job of showing the difference. Walt loved them so he did what a father and husband was supposed to do. But like Iyala Vanzandt says Men Do but Men need to BE. That's the internal and External again. Walt doesn't understand why it's so hard. His kids don't either though.
That's one of the best sections of the movies and what Eastwood does best. He takes unlikeable characters and finds the jewel in em. Now what sux is that he still deals in the Dirty Harry one liners, and the cardboard characters to beat up. Ignorant Whiteboys, cartoon Hmong thugs and a couple of Black Dudes that are dumb enough to wait for him to pull a friggin cannon out on.
This Eastwood could have wrote out and kept out! It was dumb twenty years ago and it's pathetic now! It's marketed like a Dirty Harry, Gonna clean up this town flick but it ain't it's a story that does have layers and depth. It could have more but it does have it. I liked it!
BE Mindful! BE Prayerful! BE Careful!