An engaging drama with both tragedy and warmth.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carly, Bee Vang, Ahney Her
Clint Eastwood’s ‘Gran Torino’ is an interesting film whose primary focus is on its main character, Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood). It overall manages to be a feel-good film despite having some tragic moments.
The film starts off with Walt Kowalski’s wife’s funeral. We soon get to know that he has all the makings for a seemingly unlikeable character. He’s an old grumpy man who isn’t able to connect well with his family and others. His mannerisms and talk indicate that he may even be a racist. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to his character than what we see at the start. In fact, his character ‘opening up’ is a pivotal part of the film.
The movie derives its name from Walt’s valuable procession, the vintage ‘Gran Torino’ car. One of Walts’ neigbours, Thao, a young boy from the Hmong community, tries to steal it (under pressure from others) but is unsuccessful. The core part of the film is about how Walt develops a bond with Thao and how he reforms him. There are many warm, feel-good and comedic moments on this front. We get to witness significant character development of both Walt and Thao.
A significant aspect of the film is the presence of the Hmong community. Walt’s neighbors are Hmong and his interaction with them is what leads him to open up. Actual people belonging to the Hmong community featured in the film. ‘Gran Torino’ also tries to do some social commentary by showing ethnic tensions in the neighborhood.
Overall, ‘Gran Torino’ is a film that revolves around just a small suburban neighborhood in Detroit but its impact is far reaching. Walt Kowalski is certainly a unique protagonist who adds the most depth to the film.
FINAL RATING: 4/5