Title: Gran Torino
Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her
Release: January 9, 2009
First Viewing: September 12, 2009
I remember writing courses where instructors were constantly reminding us that to tell a story properly we should leave out the adjectives and show, not tell. Gran Torino is a movie that tells a story the right way, deeply and deliberately. There are no superfluous details, no unnecessary mini-plots, and no unbelievable, acrobatic fight scenes. A lot of bang without all the flash.
I have never found a racist, cantankerous, growling old man so appealing in my life. I've seen films with grumpy old bastards before, but they were designed to bring on the chuckle, the awww-isn't-that-so-cute-aren't-I-glad-I'm-not-old youthful arrogance laugh. Eastwood's Walt Kowalski, even when snarling or making shooting gestures with his hand, isn't amusing. He embodies a nostalgic man's man persona, looking at life with unflinching if heavily biased and distorted realism and inner strength...and some serious outer grumpiness.
The supporting characters, specifically the Hmong siblings, shine as individual personalities without resorting to stereotyped teens. Walt doesn't apologize for who is and god bless them, neither do the Hmong siblings, and ultimately neither does the film.
I found this movie absolutely moving, and I highly recommend watching it.