Movie Review: Gran Torino

What do you know about manliness and masculinity? How much do you know about Clint Eastwood, the most badass man to tread this Earth? Eastwood is as manly as manly gets in Gran Torino, but in a way that will make you fall in love with him. Ladies and metrosexuals need not cower in fear, for you will come out of this movie knowing you have seen a truly great film. When was the last time a rugged, swearing bigot made you feel that way?

Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is at his wife’s funeral at the beginning of the film, and is he tough or what? Severely pissed off at his children and grandchildren being insensitive to him and especially his dead wife, Kowalski makes no attempt at hiding his loathing for his breed.

Son and son’s wife want him to move to a home for the old, and tell him this in a sugar-coated way. Literally! Watch the camera stare at Kowalski’s birthday cake as they display brochures and tell him how he will be cared for in one of those places that have ‘really nice’ people. Kowalski, being none other than the manly Clint Eastwood, sends son and son’s wife packing, and gets back to his beer, cigarettes and dog. He is filled with loathing, as he sees his once all-American neighbourhood fill up with Korean families and doesn’t miss a single opportunity to snarl at them.

Thao (Bee Vang), a young boy from right next door, is pressurised by an Asian gang to join them. Stealing war veteran Kowalski’s prized 1972 Gran Torino would be his initiation ceremony, of course. He fails miserably, and in turn is hounded by the gang – only to be saved by the gun-toting Clint Eastwood (who else?), who repeats the same sentence to Thao, the Asian gang, and Thao’s sister and mother – ‘Get off my lawn’.

Thao must make amends for trying to steal Walt’s prized possession by working for him for a few days, and Walt squeezes him dry like a sponge, punishing him and turning him into a man at the same time. Bee Vang is wonderful as Thao Vang Lor – watch him grow from a ‘pusscake’ to a brother screaming for vengeance, angered beyond belief at the rape of his sister.

Sue Lor (Ahney Her, dazzling) is the sweet, cute Asian girl who happens to be Thao’s sister. A confident, outspoken girl (watch her deal with the black trio), Sue befriends Kowalski. Now Kowalski, who has become a local hero after saving Thao and his family from the Asian gang – is still a racist piece of crap, who mumbles and grumbles at the enamoured Asian families who cannot stop leaving gifts (edible and other kinds) at his doorstep.

Sue entices Clint Eastwood with beer (how else do you tempt a manly man?), and he joins a birth ceremony in her family. Sue and Walt (she calls him Wally, much to his annoyance) become fast friends, and he slowly warms up to her family. Sue comes home bleeding from several places one day, having been brutally raped by the Asian gang. Walt and Thao must avenge this injustice done to the innocent girl…

Father Janovich (Christopher Carley, amazing) had promised Walt’s wife he’d make him go to ‘confession’ regularly, and throughout the film, attempts to teach Walt something about life and death. Determined as he is, the “27-year-old virgin who holds the hands of old ladies who are superstitous and promises them eternity” ends up learning quite a few hard-hitting lessons about life and death by being around Kowalski, delivering a great speech at the hero’s funeral.

The story by Dave Johannson is original and interesting, and the direction by Clint Eastwood is fabulous. Eastwood has extracted brilliant performances from each and everyone – be it Thao’s gnarling granny, or his hair stylist friend with whom he exchanges foul words in every sentence.

Gran Torino is packed with scenes that will move you – you feel terrible for Walt Kowalski looking at his uncaring family. But then you will laugh your guts out at Kowalski’s ways, as he shakes up the Asian gang, and the way he makes a rough and tough fellow out of the docile Thao.

There are plenty of hilarious moments and you will be laughing out aloud for sure. Watch Kowalski declare his love for his dead wife, and watch him prod Thao to ask ‘Yum Yum’ out. And then you’ll smile as you see what happens in the end, and come out saying ‘What a movie!’.

VERDICT: If you love Clint Eastwood you will enjoy watching him in Gran Torino. If you don’t love Clint Eastwood, you will start loving him after watching Gran Torino.


[My Buzz18 review]

Movie Review: The International

3 Responses to “Movie Review: Gran Torino”

  1. 1 Sam
    December 7, 2009 at 06:50

    It’s a delight to watch an amazing performer behind and in front of the camera. He needs no introduction. He is the Good from the eternal classic, “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”. His career has spanned across decades and, is still going stronger than the most. And, he is “Clint Eastwood”.

    While most of his contemporaries – Gregory Beck, Omar shariff have been already laid to rest, six feet under.

    The swan song of this maverick genius goes on. He, indeed, has gotten better with age, just like an exquisite old wine.

    A pedigreed actor and an ace director. He has yet again seemed, to have delivered a seamless, riveting performance in “Gran Torino”. I am looking forward to watching this flick. 🙂


  2. 2 Roy
    December 7, 2009 at 08:23

    Eastwood is the Super Alpha, Gran Ol manly man, The Ubermensch all put together.
    Of course your beer line nails it! (Sue entices Clint Eastwood with beer (how else do you tempt a manly man?))

    grrr…zinda gard doonga…bloody gooks!


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