116 Min. | Drama | December 2008
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley
Gran Torino Review
If movies like Indiana Jones, Iron Man and The Dark Knight were the thoroughbred hits of 2008, then Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino is the dark horse. Gran Torino rousing crowd-pleaser is sure to surprise many, through its copious sour humour and pure badassery, while managing to still be an affecting and sombre dramatic entry in Eastwood’s long-enduring and wildly successful career in front of and behind the camera. You know that a movie has something going for it when it can, pack in so many one-liners you can’t bring yourself to remember them after the show from oversaturation of the brain, be unboundedly racist yet still never seen exploitative or condescending and make a pure, grit-and-nails, grimacing anti-hero, one man army out of a seventy-eight year old man.
What is likely to surprise the most number of viewers is how funny Gran Torino really is. Eastwood’s direction and line delivery as a diamond-hard antisocial veteran is bang-on, but never makes the film into a farce or embarrassment. This is due in part to the handling of the more touching dramatic moments which anchors the film in reality and reminds us of what is at play, so to speak. Following the death of his wife, Walt Kowalski has nothing left but his dog to truly be with. His two sons and their families drift in and out, but Walt’s less then cheerful demeanour and their impartiality keeps them in different worlds and in different times.
With a great song by Jamie Cullum to conclude Gran Torino (which stands as a horrendous Oscar snub, equalled only by the additional snub of the Bruce Springsteen Song from The Wrestler), Gran Torino is a pure gem, a film that both draws unexpected laughs, soft smiles and tears from an audience that is happy to oblige, as well as salute a screen legend in another iconic role that proves even at an old age a dark horse can still kick you in the face.
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