Clint Eastwood's persona has always been the "tough guy" the "bad ass"
"fucker you didn't wanna mess with". But have you ever seen Clint Eastwood as a caring, kind old man? Someone who gave a lost young man his way in life, and grew to understand a culture so alien and foreign to him?
This is the premise of his latest film, Gran Torino. It's the story of a retired war vet who sees a world changing and growing in front of him. A world of both unfamiliarity and familiarity. In this film, we see the world through Walter Kowalski's(Clint Eastwood) eyes. He sees the youth as disrespectful and brash. His own family ungrateful, and their concerns misplaced. The story begins after Walter's wife has just been buried. We get to see how his own family acts around him. The viewer sees them not as his family, but ungrateful vultures. You can see this in his granddaughter. She asks if she can help her grandfather, only to ask for his prized posession, His Gran Torino.
At first glance, it seems like the average Clint Eastwood film. Clint here plays a cantankerous yet higly respectable old man who brandishes his gun and isn's afraid to talk dirty. But this isn't what this film is about. It's about the old America, seeing the new america. America not as white America, but America as the global america. Walt Kowalski represents old America. Racist, angry, stubborn,hardworking, kind and respectable. His Hmong neighbors on the other hand, represent a new america, they are foreign, they bring something new to the melting pot of america. The way he treats the Hmong is also very reminiscent of old white america. At first, he is afraid, racist and insecure. But slowly he warms up to them, even enjoying their food and company.
During the first half, I couldn't help but laugh at Walt's actions to everything. He would swear up a storm, and I would laugh, he kicked his family out of his house on his birthday and I laughed, he taught Thao how to be a man, I laughed. But halfway through the film, and pretty much near the end you sympathize and grow to love Walt. Eastwood's performance brings life to the character. His performance was so great that me and my friend kept saying how much we wanted to be like Clint. Imagine two 19 yr old guys, wanting to idolizing a 75 yr old man. This film was a tug to a heart, it is a man's "chick flick".
This film almost made me cry (I had a tear in my eye). It's a lovely film, especially the ending, which I won't spoil but it has to do with inheritance and who gets what. This film was beautiful, human and powerful. It's truly a man's film. It reminds us manly men that no matter how tough we act, we're gonna need people to love us, and remember us when we are long gone. If you're gonna watch something more than once, watch this film. IT is the best film of the year. If we ever look back and want to see what life was like in this benchmark era of ours, Gran Torino should be the film.
P.S It really got to me in the end when he's singing the song, fuck I love this film.