Gran Torino

D: Clint Eastwood
Warner Bros./Village Roadshow/Malpaso (Robert Lorenz & Bill Gerber)
USA/Germany 🇺🇸 🇩🇪 2008
112 mins


W: Nick Schenk
DP: Tom Stern
Ed: Joel Cox & Gary D. Roach
Mus: Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens
PD: James J. Murakami

Clint Eastwood (Walt Kowalski), Bee Vang (Thao Vang Lor), Ahney Her (Sue Lor), Christopher Carley (Father Janovich)

Almost reminiscent of a cross between Boyz N The Hood and the classic British sitcom One Foot In The Grave, although a lot of dialogue, especially in the first 20 minutes isn't quite as sharp or genuine as the aforementioned. Characters in the first act deliver lines as if they're written by a struggling screenwriter laying easy foundations. Thankfully, the dialogue and characterisation improves. Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a bigoted, prejudiced Korean War veteran set in his old-fashioned ways whose monosyllabic grunts tell you all you need to know about his dissatisfaction with his 21st Century urbanised neighbourhood. The story centres on Walt's relationship with his new Hmong neighbours after their son, Thao, attempts to steal his vintage Gran Torino automobile as part of a gang initiation. The relationship blossoms when Thao's sister, played increibly well by Ahner Her, is being harrassed by gang youths and Walt jumps to her defence. Thao then makes amends by helping the old man with chores and generally cleaning up the neighbourhood. However, the gang aren't gonna quit in their pursuit of the impressionable young Asian and blood is spilt.
Walt Kowalski is virtually a wizened, aged Dirty Harry, and who else can play that character other than Clint Eastwood? Bee Yang plays the shy teen well, but it's Ahney Her who really brings the movie to life with easily the best written character. Aside from these three characters, everyone else is underwritten and one-dimensional, which is a shame considering the potential of the movie. Still, there's some good banter between Kowalski and the other characters. A well directed film, and certain scenes deserve more than the rating I've awarded it. If the script was revised a little more on certain aspects it would have received more.

Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino
Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino