A “Gran” Ol’ Time: Review for “Gran Torino”
Old men are intelligent. Sometimes stubborn, but very intelligent. They have experienced things we cannot even imagine and sometimes freely discuss those events. But sometimes they are too stuck in the past. Too stuck in an age that, to us may seem irrelevant or old fashioned. They won’t catch up; they don’t want to catch up with the current time. They sometimes hate the idea of an iPod or a PlayStation. Clint Eastwood plays an old man who lives in a very ethnic, if somewhat lower class, neighborhood. He has fought in the Vietnam War and the tensions and grudges have not left him. There are gang wars often and his neighbors are Hmong immigrants, an obvious problem for him. But the neighbor’s kid, who is pressured into carrying out a dirty deed to join a gang, tries to steel Wallace’s (Clint Eastwood) 1972 Gran Torino. This car is his most prized possession. His wife is dead, with her funeral commencing the film. Hid sons are greedy little adult prats who feel sorry that their dad is having a hard time. Sorry for Wallace, you ask? No, sorry for themselves and for the stuff they have to put up with. But they have no idea. He eventually befriends the kid who tried to steel his car by means of repayment (the kid works for him for a week). He also befriends the kid’s sister, a quick witted and smart young woman. The film tackles many things, such as generational differences, racism, and peer pressure. Clint Eastwood is great as the aging old man and this is one of his greatest performances. He also directed the film. However, this isn’t one of his greatest films. It’s excellent, but not the enthralling work I had expected. It was actually quite funny. It certainly isn’t a comedy, nor a “dramedy”, but there are quite a few funny moments. And I wasn’t the only one who was laughing in the theater. The language of the film is amazing. Amazing in the sense that you don’t know when a brief silence from profanity will come. Oh, it’s not only the F-word, it is a plethora of racial slurs. In comparison, you seldom hear any “normal” swears. Many of the epithets I hadn’t even been aware of. This mars the film, but not greatly. The ending is extremely powerful and makes the experience enjoyable. The meaning of life is what makes this film. It’s personification of scars and friendship male a film to watch. A very good, if deafening project from a master.