Gran Torino is a good, strong American drama.
There’s a perfect amount of bigotry, racism, violence, guns, chauvinism…the Red, White and Blue flapping in the breeze in 7 out of 10 shots; truly, it has all the essentials.
And in the end, we get to hear Clint Eastwood sing.
But not before he takes us through a scattered internal struggle of his character’s (Walt Kowalski) life as a widower and lover of his precious, diaper-rubbed Gran Torino.
Kowalski is a Korean War vet who leads the silent (but deadly) existence of that curmudgeon neighbor we all remember living near at one point or another in our lives.
Eastwood, who does a fantastic job directing (as usual), keeps it real with his signature growls and grumbles. It’s easy to see that Kowalski’s character is directly inspired by Dirty Harry.
What was the tagline for that film? “You don’t assign him to murder cases, You just turn him loose.”
Anywho… not to disappoint, but, Torino is NOT a Dirty Harry film.
Kowalski is a man seemingly beyond redemption who takes the law into his own hands to protect his Hmong neighbor “family” and ends up sacrificing his life for the sins of others…heroic indeed, however, I would have enjoyed the climax (or should I say anti-climax?) just fine without the whole falling to the ground and laying in a crucifix pose stunt.
Like Joan River’s face… overdone.
Perhaps the best part of Gran Torino is the melancholic, ahem, “vocal” stylings of Eastwood as he sings us into the credits.
Do I hear a musical on the horizon?
For some of Eastwood’s recording sessions- click it: