Gran Torino

January 9th, 2009








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Gran Torino

Still of Clint Eastwood in Gran TorinoStill of Clint Eastwood in Gran TorinoChristopher Carley at event of Gran TorinoStill of Clint Eastwood and Bee Vang in Gran TorinoStill of Clint Eastwood and Bee Vang in Gran TorinoStill of Doua Moua, Bee Vang, Sonny Vue and Elvis Thao in Gran Torino

Plot
Disgruntled Korean War vet Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 8.3/10 (221,880 voted)

Critic's Score: 72/100

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley

Storyline
Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.

Writers: Nick Schenk, Dave Johannson

Cast:
Clint Eastwood - Walt Kowalski
Christopher Carley - Father Janovich
Bee Vang - Thao
Ahney Her - Sue
Brian Haley - Mitch Kowalski
Geraldine Hughes - Karen Kowalski
Dreama Walker - Ashley Kowalski
Brian Howe - Steve Kowalski
John Carroll Lynch - Barber Martin
William Hill - Tim Kennedy
Brooke Chia Thao - Vu
Chee Thao - Grandma
Choua Kue - Youa
Scott Eastwood - Trey (as Scott Reeves)
Xia Soua Chang - Kor Khue



Details

Official Website: Official site [Japan] | Warner Bros. [France] |

Release Date: 9 January 2009

Filming Locations: 204 W 11 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $271,720 (USA) (14 December 2008) (6 Screens)

Gross: $148,055,047 (USA) (7 June 2009)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:
Clint Eastwood's first acting role since Million Dollar Baby. He stated that this will be his last movie as an actor; however, he said the same about the earlier film.

Goofs:
Plot holes: When Walt rescues Sue and Trey from the three thugs, he tells Trey that he should not have said "bro" to them. This would have been impossible for him to know; he pulled up to the stop sign after the incident.

Quotes:
[first lines]
Al: God, I am sorry for Dorothy, Walt. She was a real peach.
Walt Kowalski: Thanks for coming, Al.



User Review

Yet another Eastwood gem

Rating:

I feel like I should let everyone reading this know of my inherent bias in favor of this film. I have seen twenty eight films from Clint Eastwood as director and have liked the vast majority of them, and loved a good number of them (my average rating for the 28 films is 7.9). Still, something felt off about "Gran Torino" based on the trailer. I read it as Eastwood trying to be 'badass' again, trying to be Dirty Harry again. "Gran Torino" is not that. Walt Kowalski may have similarities with Dirty Harry, and could possibly be read as a significantly older version of Harry (it's a stretch), but he is a distinctive, memorable character on his own, and I'd go as far as saying that it's one of Eastwood's finest performances, and one which gives him a chance to show off his dramatic and comedic chops.

I'm not going to argue that "Gran Torino" has perfect acting from the younger supporting cast. It doesn't. In fact, some of them are downright bad at times, but the film works in spite of its flaws. This screenplay was probably written with Eastwood in mind (I am not sure of the behind-the-scenes details on this) and it shows. He captures Kowalski perfectly. The film is surprisingly humorous, something that isn't being captured well enough in advertising. It's absolutely hilarious at times (watch as Kowalski attempts to make a man out of Thao by teaching him how to talk like men do), and Eastwood handles the shifts in tone brilliantly. When the film takes a dark turn towards the end I sat on the edge of my seat in suspense, fully aware of where it was heading but still mesmerized by Eastwood's tour-de-force direction. This is an artist at his prime as an actor and as a director.

Whether or not "Gran Torino" will hold up as one of Eastwood's great films remains to be seen, and the film feels like it would be good for multiple viewings. The characterization is strong and not simplistic at all, you could argue that Kowalski is just another grouchy war vet, but Eastwood's beautiful, nuanced performance as well as some neat little touches in the screenplay (particularly towards the end) which I won't discuss in detail to avoid spoiling anything (and it's really fun to watch this movie unfold, Eastwood keeps the film moving at a wonderfully involving pace) would prove you wrong. The film works on yet another level as a deconstruction of Eastwood's image. I don't mean that as a negative, it just adds to the film's strength as a character study.

It's a more intimate film than Eastwood's other film this year, "Changeling", and also on a smaller scale than many of his other films, but it's just as ambitious in many ways. This is not a politically correct film about a grouchy old racist suddenly turning into the most tolerant person around, it is a film about a man who, near the end of his life, is forced to confront his demons, and on the sunnier side about a man who finds true friendship where he least expected it. By the end of "Gran Torino" I had forgiven any flaws it might have, and was completely satisfied with the film, which far exceeded my expectations. I have a feeling that "Gran Torino", which has already been met with strongly positive reviews (but is still being described as a 'minor' Eastwood film by some), will eventually become an especially important part of Eastwood's filmography.




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