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Gran Torino
Year:
2008
Country:
USA, Germany, Australia
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
8.2
Director:
Clint Eastwood
Christopher Carley as Father Janovich
Bee Vang as Thao Vang Lor
Ahney Her as Sue Lor
Brian Haley as Mitch Kowalski
Geraldine Hughes as Karen Kowalski
Dreama Walker as Ashley Kowalski
Brian Howe as Steve Kowalski
John Carroll Lynch as Barber Martin
William Hill as Tim Kennedy
Chee Thao as Grandma
Choua Kue as Youa
Storyline: Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.
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Reviews
Well, I have seen much better from Clint
Clint Eastwood is one of my all time heroes both as an actor and as a director so I was really looking forward to watching this film in which he does both jobs. He also has a knack for depicting the crack in the American dream as illustrated by Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, The Unforgiven, and so forth -- but this time the whole thing appeared to be more about racist Paleface Clint becoming a better person than anything else, so I came away somewhat disappointed.

In what might well be Clint's final acting performance (he is beginning to look old and creaky) I witnessed a rehash of all the Dirty Harry and man with no name stuff under the guise of an old man who seemingly cares for no one and is tough as nails but underneath is a real softy. He retains all his well established celluloid courage as an old dog of war that keeps the young and fit criminals in their place.

The way he wins over the Asian neighbors that he keeps insulting and turning away really stretches your imagination. But at least the intention is good and it is refreshing to see his exchanges with the untiring Catholic priest who does his utmost to get him to confess and save his soul.

In a finale reminiscent of John Wayne in "The Shootist," Clint commits public suicide and apparently places his faith with a number of witnesses that had up to that point been very wary to report anything on the criminal gangs for fear of retribution. Personally, I thought it a pointless suicide. I'd much rather have seen Clint go out blasting away and taking with him a few bad eggs. But that is my obviously very subjective viewpoint.

I am giving this film a 7 but 6.5 would be closer to the mark. May Clint live many more years and direct many more great films. This one and The Changeling have provided blips on the lower side of the quality graph but they are still well worth admission price.

And - I'm sure Clint will bounce back with more quality films in the near future!
2009-04-02
We all love Clint Eastwood but can we PLEASE be honest and admit he made a bad movie!?
I can't understand WHY so many reviews on here are just kissing Clint Eastwoods ass. There's no question Clint Eastwood is a brilliant actor and director. I went into this film expecting nothing less quality than "Million Dollar Baby", "Mystic River" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". But this movie did NOT live up to any of those for a number of reasons.

I'll keep my review short but anyone with an objective mind has to be able to agree that many scenes and lines in this script were laughable. It says a lot when more than 1/2 the movie theater was laughing throughout the movie. Casting choices were no better. The priest was AWFUL. i appreciate Eastwood wanting to cast no names, and in the case of the the two Hmong children, locals as well who were starring in their first feature film. Unfortunately this backfired big time. They were not believable and their acting in many scenes was downright awful.

I appreciate the story they were trying to tell and I have no problem with the language but we all need to admit when a great filmmaker makes a poor film.
2009-01-20
Once again the Invasion of the Marketing Shills is launched on IMDb
Decent 80 minute movie compressed into 120 minutes. I don't care if it's Spielberg, Eastwood or Ed Wood, a movie produced and directed by the star is not going to be a good movie due to scene bloat.

Awful acting (or was it just growling) by Eastwood also. Pat Morita would have done (and did) better. This really is a weak Karate Kid knock-off, had they acknowledged this by putting in at least one "wax on wax off" line, it would have been marginally amusing. As it stands, it's just marginal.

I wonder what people who rate this way up in "Godfather" land charge studio hired marketing firms to do that. Is overhyping films on IMDb the "$80 an hour miracle job" they advertise on Facebook that is taking the country by storm these days?
2009-01-19
Clint Eastwood shows you why he still should be in FRONT of the camera
With his performance Eastwood shows you why people like himself, Jack Nicholson, or Paul Newman only come around once in a lifetime. Though Eastwood would rather focus on directing, he can still carry a movie with his on screen presence, and he's pure dynamite in "Gran Torino". Perhaps the poor box office results of "hollywoody" movies like Absolute Power, True Crime, Space Cowboys, and Blood Work, caused Eastwood to shy away from acting, but given cutting edge material to work with as "Million Dollar Baby" and "Gran Torino", he's as good as ever. His character as the racist and salty war vet makes you think of that old guy we've all had on our blocks with the garbage door open, the million tools hanging everywhere, and always fixing or building something. I found myself not wanting the movie to end because the scenes between himself and the various Hmong characters where priceless. There may be complaints over the racist remarks and scenes, but Eastwood pulls it off in a way a real person like that would talk or act to a point where it ends up being lighthearted. I'm not going to give the plot away, but if you like your Clint Eastwood as a hard-nosed tough guy with foul language alla Dirty Harry or Heartbreak Ridge, you'll love this movie!!
2008-12-16
Horrible
My first ever post on this site has been kept for the biggest waste of time of my life...ever! How it is in the the top 250 i have no idea. For the people who have given this 10 / 10 I'm not sure you were in the right screen. The acting in this film was horrible...the story line wasn't even paper thin and the moral of the story was become friends with old people and get their cars.

I was expecting Clint to do a big build up to a full all out war on gangs...but no...just growled and drank beer.

It has one star because negative numbers are not an option Just avoid this film and save yourself time, effort and money.
2009-06-23
Another top-notch, Clint Eastwood film that entertains and teaches.
Manohla Dargis writes in the New York Times: "Dirty Harry is back, in a way, in "Gran Torino," not as a character but as a ghostly presence. He hovers in the film, in its themes and high-caliber imagery, and of course most obviously in Mr. Eastwood's face. It is a monumental face now, so puckered and pleated that it no longer looks merely weathered, as it has for decades, but seems closer to petrified wood. Words like flinty and steely come to mind, adjectives that Mr. Eastwood ... expressively embodies with his usual lack of fuss and a number of growls." More praise for Eastwood comes from Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, who comments: "No one makes movies like Gran Torino any more, and more's the pity. This one, with Clint Eastwood as director and star, is concerned with honor and atonement, with rough justice and the family of man. It raises irascibility to the level of folk art, takes unapologetic time-outs for unfashionable moral debates, revives acting conventions that haven't been in fashion for half a century and keeps you watching every frame as Mr. Eastwood snarls, glowers, mutters, growls and grins his way through the performance of a lifetime." Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News remarks that "it's clearly a career-capping work." Kenneth Turan in The Los Angeles Times writes that the movie "is impossible to imagine without the actor in the title role. The notion of a 78-year-old action hero may sound like a contradiction in terms, but Eastwood brings it off, even if his toughness is as much verbal as physical. Even at 78, Eastwood can make 'Get off my lawn' sound as menacing as 'Make my day,' and when he says 'I blow a hole in your face and sleep like a baby,' he sounds as if he means it."

There are at least four reason why I like this film: 1. Clint Eastwood shows that the character he is playing is willing to serve in a war-- and die if necessary--to preserve freedom (and he has a medal to prove it), 2. he has grown old and the whole world has changed (and everyone around him seems to indicate--in one way or another--that he is no appreciated or needed), 3. even with a transformation, he demonstrates that people tend to be reactive--rather than responsive--and are slow to change (this is particularly true with bias, discrimination, and prejudice), and 4. that tolerance can lead to understanding (he tries to give tough love, but he becomes softer in his response--instead of his reaction--after giving and receiving genuine love). It seems that everyone around him wants his Gran Torino and everything else he owns, before he even has died, instead of being interested in him. He lives in a community that is transformation, and he knows absolutely nothing about culture, diversity, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. He does know about aging, however (if nowhere else, he learns about it from people's adverse and negative reactions, everywhere around him). He isn't exactly treated with dignity and respect, so why should he treat anyone else with dignity and respect? And, trust must be earned.

If this is Clint Eastwood's last film, I can only say that that his performance, in this stunning film, is what legends are made of. There are some wonderful performances in "Milk" (Sean Penn), "Australia" (Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman), "Changeling" (Angelina Jolie and director Clint Eastwood), and "The Dark Knight" (a riveting performance by "Brokeback Mountain's" Heath Ledger). In viewing all of these films, there are performances that are not only superb, but they evoke every one of the emotions and carry the intellect and intelligence of human cognitions to the highest pinnacle of excellence. As a gay person, I must say that I am moved by Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk, I am moved by the romantic chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and I would be remiss if I did not mention Angelina Jolie's flawless and moving performance. But, I give the top honor to Clint Eastwood for giving us films that educate and entertain. And, "Gran Torino" (2008) is no exception. One cannot walk away from a Clint Eastwood film, without saying that they haven't learned something, or without saying (just like the legendary Ethel Merman used to sing) 'there's no business (quite) like show business'. I rank "Gran Torino" (2008) a 10 out of 10. Clint Eastwood's performance is more than another version of 'Dirty Harry'. In fact, his portrayal is reminiscent of the Paul Newman character in "Nobody's Perfect".
2008-12-13
I was expecting better
OK. Clint's pushing close to 100 or so....

While he was great as a cowboy and as a overdone cop and in other roles, he sucks in this one.

As a performer I think he is just awesome...but this movie stinks.

I was really looking forward to this for some reason - but when I got to the end, I was disappointed again by Hollywood.

Though it's not a blockbuster, action or drama - it also doesn't have the strength to be really compelling either.

Story kind of sucks and well...really what does the Torino have to do with it at all? So misleading and dreary - hopefully the old folk will like it after watching Matlock and Murder She Wrote.

I'm really looking forward to a Golden Girls action move...maybe Clint could do one in the near future.
2009-02-07
Not enough Character development
Overall, This movie was bad in my opinion. I'm not sure why so many people gave it high ratings and seemingly overlooked all of its flaws. I'm assuming Clint Eastwood fans got caught up in his acting performance.

The movie begins and ends with Clint Eastwood's character while almost every other character is uni-dimensional with little or no depth at all. The kids from the local gangs might as well be witches from your typical fairytale. They are just about as mean and despicable as the storyline needs them to be with no context behind their actions. There's a random scene where (one of the key characters) a Hmong-American girl walks with her white boyfriend, and encounters a group of 3 African American kids who appear to be some sort of gang. The incredibly predictable interaction is just a bunch of awkward cliché lines thrown back and forth between the white guy and the gang. But of course, Clint Eastwood magically appears at the right time to save the girl from the evil gang. That scene came out of nowhere and completely threw me off balance. Sadly, it wasn't just a bad scene, it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the movie.

The best way to describe this film would be something stuck between a heavy drama and a feel good story. Every time the story threatens to get too dramatic, you suddenly get pulled back into the "feel good" setting and vice versa. It goes head on on heavy subjects like racism, gangs, life and death, hatred, and war, yet it doesn't fully develop on any of them. One thing that really bothered me was: Why would Thao's cousin (the main "antagonist") attempt to murder members of his own family following Clint's assault. He basically sprayed his auntie's house with bullets, and raped or ordered the rape and/or assault of Taoh's sister (his own cousin!?). and we know nothing about who he is or his true motivations.
2013-09-11
Top 10 Things Wrong with Gran Torino
1. Peppering dialog with racist insults didn't constitute wit or humor when Archie Bunker did it in the 1970s, and it doesn't now.

2. The hero is contrived. Over the course of one summer, Eastwood's Walt builds affection and the utmost loyalty toward the "gooks" next door, but he couldn't do the same with his own sons over decades? He's alternately soft- or hard-hearted depending on the needs of the plot.

3. A few of the Hmongs have distinct characters, but Walt's family are little more than clichés-- resentful sons, greedy daughter-in-law, shallow granddaughter.

4. The sons are presented negatively, as opportunists, but the only time Walt calls one of them is when he's in difficulty (and even then he doesn't have the courage to actually speak up), so is he really any better?

5. The inexplicable stalking of mild-mannered Thao by his cousin's Hmong gang, in spite of the fact that "all Hmong boys go to jail"—so clearly there's no shortage of recruits. Presumably it's out of family loyalty? I don't think so, because...

6. When the gang retaliates against Walt for having kicked the crap out of one of them, they open fire — on their own cousins' house instead of Walt's next door!

7. Contrary to Walt's simple-minded claim, blue-collar men are capable of the occasional sentence that doesn't use words like dick, ofay, guinea, and spook.

8. The ending is entirely predictable, even before Walt starts getting all shaven and shorn for his coffin.

9. Using the dog as a device to steal audience affection for Walt rather than making him someone genuinely likable and worthy of respect.

10. Bad lighting, sluggish direction, and, worst of all, transparent plot manipulation to keep the police out of the picture until the final scenes. (Okay, I know that's three items, making a Top 12, but it could easily have been a Top 20.)
2009-08-01
Clint Eastwood at his worst
Honestly, this movie deserves more than one star but I need to neutralize all these nine and ten stars that I can't understand. I like Clint Eastwood's movies as much as anyone else, and I know it might be the last one in which he shows up on the screen, but it's not even close to being one of his best movie. Even that one good thing that some reviewers mentioned, and that is Clint Eastwood's acting, looks good only in comparison to the very bad job the rest of the cast does. I mean, what's with that growl? Didn't we have a multiple other hints, none of them subtle, that Mr. Kowalski is an embittered old man? Somewhere in the middle, I hoped that would be a movie about what a parent or a friend could or should do when a kid is bothered by a local gang. But, there is no any effort to think about that problem any deeper. Too bad!
2010-04-12
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