Gran Torino Reviews
A retired car worker and Korean War vet Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) fills emptiness in his life with beer and home repair,(he is a widower) despising the many Asian, Latino and black families in his neighborhood. Walt becomes a reluctant hero when he stands up to the local thugs
The character this tale surrounds is Clint Eastwood's character, Walt Kowalski. However, it's not just Walt that embodies this world it's also the characters that surround him. He starts the movie as a racist old Polish-American man set in his ways. Unbeknownst to him he will make the transition into selfless hero. Each person he meets along the way helps him see the world he once knew a bit more clearly. And I must say again Clint Eastwood wrote this movie and directed so the avenues he takes to prove his powerful point seems bizarre in the fact that you forget Clint Eastwood for a bit and picture Walt. Walt is a man who fought in the Vietnam war and killed many Vietnamese soldiers because he was ordered too and because he had too. He lets the viewer constantly know that he hated it. Fast forward through all the pains of war, a movie in and of itself. He comes back to America and marries the Girl of his dreams, Dorothy. They have a beautiful traditional life together and they have two sons, Steve and Mitch. He worked in a ford factory, there in the motor city of Detroit, Michigan, inadvertently giving his sons a privileged life he can never relate to. And as he gets old and his wife dies he loses the one human being who truly gets him, Dorothy.
The time is now, the millennial era, Walt is standing at his wife's funeral watching as his family file into rows with utter disgust. His grandchildren showed little to no respect for their grandmother's funeral. For example, his eldest granddaughter wore a halter top. This was just an opening example that he had a genuine hate for everything disrespectful no matter what race. When he refers to any white person he meets throughout the film he calls the Irish and Italian slurs. But his true connection is shown when he becomes a father like figure to a Hmong boy named Thao. The truly amazing part of this tale was that Walt thought Thao looked like a young Vietnamese boy who he shot cold bloodily during the war. In one of the beginning scenes of the movie Walt held a gun to Thao's head, He must have had a flashback of the war. This instance in the movie was due the fact that Thao was told by his Cousin's Gang to rob Walt's Gran Torino, his most prized possession. The Torino was built straight off the line in a Ford Factory Walt worked at. And this car has been admired by many throughout the movie, from his Granddaughter to the gangs and everyone in between.
Now back to Thao's influence on Walt's life. Thao is a young man around high school to college age with no ambition or motivation. He is rather easily talked to by a gang into stealing Walt's car. And if not for Walt scaring him away with his gun, the whole situation would have turned out quite differently. After that incident Thao rejected the gang and was put into a situation where he was saved by Walt, who scared the gang away with a gun. Thao's Hmong family, who were so thankful, brought Walt into their family as well as have Thao work off the damage he's done for stealing his car. During this time, they grow a bond that Walt describes towards the end of the movie as one he's never had, a father son bond. After Thao's service is done Walt still keeps him under his wing as well as becoming more acquainted with Hmong. Even learning that they fought on the same side during the Vietnamese War.
Without spoiling the beautiful ending, I will describe the one powerful plot lines that take place before the touching end. It's the day Walt gets Thao a job and some tools. Their day's journey begins with Walt taking Thao to become a man by showing him how men talk at Barbershops, they used racial slurs in the nicest way possible to someone different. Next he got a construction Job with a Union. And from my knowledge that is very hard to get unless you have connections. Finally, he brought him some tools on a loan that Thao would pay him back. Thao thankfully takes this new motivation in life and works towards a better future. I will not speak on what happens next to not spoil this film for anybody that did not watch it yet. By the way, please watch this film.
For those who don't know what that sequence of scenes showed, it showed Walt truly gaining a son who he felt a connection to. Not to say anything bad about his own children, even though Clint Eastwood gave his son Scott Eastwood a bit part in this movie. This is Walt gaining a son who looked like the boys he killed in the war and learning to love him like a son. Also this isn't a white savior movie Eastwood, I believe strategically, has his character call himself the "White devil." I can say I've watched this film many times and it has made me appreciate all of Clint Eastwood's other movies. It's a spaghetti western situated in Detroit Michigan during the year 2008. He brought his entire career into this movie the action, the drama, and he even sings the closing credits; an ode to his career in Jazz music. Even though this film could've been the ultimate form of self-gratification from Clint, I believe this is the ultimate form of Art from a man who's had a career as hard as stone.
this looks reele good!