Gran Torino [2008]

This is the guy you remember. Shooting butt and taking names. This is the reason many of you saw this film. This was not exactly what you got. "I told you kids to stay off my lawn!"

Gran Torino is a solid enough movie.  Did you notice it had some “indie” feel.  However the solid performances by the female lead and Clint himself kept it a notch above in acting quality.  I cannot say the rest of the cast delivered a thespian tour de force, and the script was occasionally weak.  But the movie itself is solid enough that these things can be overlooked.

I found some of the scenes rather slow and others “unfun” enough that I wanted to speed through them at 2X.  Yet despite this the plot builds nicely.  It was great to see Clint’s character break out his Korean War era weapons to intimidate local gang punks, forcing them to break off their violence.  I am sure many of us felt a sense of vicarious justice as we have seen criminal pukes ruin lives.

While I bet Eastwood is tired of continued comparisons to his famous Dirty Harry character, it cannot help but be said for this picture.  "Go ahead punk, make my day."

While I bet Eastwood is tired of continued comparisons to his famous Dirty Harry character, it cannot help but be said for this picture. "Go ahead punk, make my day."

While ethnic slurs fly like shuriken at ninja school, it is equal opportunity and no groups are spared.  Underneath that the story slowly builds real bonds between Clint and his unlikely new friends that turn out to be closer than family.  Hopefully this makes you want to tighten your relations with family or if that is not possible build some real ones with others.  (Of course here amongst the ice and crystal of the Fortress, human contact is far more limited.)

"I got this here at S-Mart. It's got a walnut stock and a hair trigger. You got that!"

As the climax approached the movie could have gone in two ways.  Clint decided to take the passive route even though the character leaned the other way the entire movie.  While not as satisfying it did bring the gang pukes to justice.  It did not however give them sufficient comeuppance.  Villains getting their full comeuppance is part of what makes drama work and a denouement cathartic.

Part of me sure wanted to see Clint and his new friend storm that gang house and mete out some old school justice Korean War style.  Oh well.

"You got a problem with the way I ended this movie you *&%$@ whipper snapper?"

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6 thoughts on “Gran Torino [2008]

  1. If you wanted a movie that ends with some old-school justice, I suggest “Death Sentence”. There’s plenty of movies like that.
    But Gran Torino dared to take the “unpopular” ending. It showed that you don’t always need to use violence to do the right thing. Even though we, as the audience, *want* them to go in with guns blazing, in the end the old man did what was truly best for the kid.

    • What you said about violence and doing the right thing are true. However the marketing of this movie was in the vein of old school Clint “make my day” Eastwood. While we too believe the ending was better for the kid, it went against type. While that probably made it more moving, it also made it more misleading, and in some small way not paying off what it promised.

      Not a bad movie at all. But Hollywood, please do not trick us into seeing it by spinning it as something it is not.

      PS – You inspired one person here at the Fortress to add a few more pics to this ol’ take.

  2. haha. Good work. As Iron sharpens Iron, so one movie blog sharpens another… lol.

    I see your point, I really do. But I think Eastwood was purposefully playing off your expectations. I was a little offended at first, I wanted to see Walt bring those kids to the undertaker. But then I realized something. They’re asking the audience a question. What do you really *want* here? Do you want true justice and redemption for the characters, or do you want violence? Powerful questions. The theme of sacrifice and redemption had a ring of truth to it.

  3. I so love Clint that this was my best movie of the year. Have you seen “Letters from Iwo Jima”? It’s terrific and should be viewed with this, rather than with the rather duller “Flags Of Our Fathers”. I adore the way Clint sends up his Action Man stereotype character and I really feel the script is head and shoulders above so many other movies.

    • We have not seen it but will consider your recommendation.

      Older actors playing against the “type” they have pretty much set for most of their careers can be entertaining and useful. Clint does do it well. We have seen De Niro do it, as well as Shatner to some extent.

      Clint’s drama-to-drama change-up works better than many actor’s attempts that moved them from drama to comedy or vice versa.

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