A disgruntled Korean War vet, Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino.
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Clint has still got the magic - this is superb. I was a bit worried about Clint coming back to this kind of movie after making so many great directorial efforts, but this is as good as any Dirty Harry flick, even the first one. A classic, and it looks MINT in Blu Ray
Clint Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, a Korean War veteran whose wife has recently died. His neighbourhood is in decline and all the other white people have long since moved away. This suburban backwater has become an ethnic enclave for the Hmong hill people who, after fighting alongside the Americans in the Korean War, were persecuted and ultimately emigrated to the US. Walt doesn’t understand their language or their culture, but he does know that he wants them to stay off his lawn. Walt sits on his porch, his dog Daisy and his shotgun ever by his side as he drinks a few too many beers and smokes, staring at his neighbours with barely covered disdain. A gang idly roams the streets and looks for new recruits. Thao (Bee Vang) is forced into joining and his initiation is to steal Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino. His bungled attempt leaves him out of the gang and told by his mother to regain his honour by working for Walt. Increasingly estranged from his own family and alienated from the people in his neighbourhood, Walt befriends Thao (begrudgingly at first) and after protecting the neighbourhood from the gang he becomes a hero figure. There are several moral themes that run throughout the film, including racism, masculinity, guilt and family as well as a great deal of non politically correct dialogue, mostly coming from Walt. Eastwood is pretty much channelling Harry Callahan throughout. He’s a mean, grumpy old man on the outside yet beneath he’s caring and has a sense of right and wrong. Eastwood is thoroughly compelling and although the rest of the cast is largely made up of non-professional actors, seen on screen here for the first time, they mostly produce good performances. Christopher Carley supports as Father Janovich with Bee Vang as Thao Vang Lor and Ahney Her as the perky and feisty Sue Lor, all of whom inject some lightness and humour to balance out Walt’s initial frostiness. Eastwood stars and directs in what will possibly be his final film as an actor, yet at 79 years of age he does not disappoint. If this is to be his final film, he chose a very good one to go out on.