John A. Douglas

Living Passionately In the World of the Moving Image

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MOVIE REVIEW – Gran Torino

May 24th, 2009 · No Comments · Movie Reviews

Gran Torino Directed by Clint Eastwood, produced by Clint Eastwood, Bill Gerber and Robert Lorenz; screenplay by Nick Schenk; story by Dave Johannson and Nick Schenk; director of photography, Tom Stern; edited by Joel Cox and Gary Roach; production design by James J. Murakami; music by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens.

Walt Kowalski—————Clint Eastwood
Thao Vang Lor——————-Bee Vang
Sue Lor————————-Abney Her
Father Janovich—— –Christopher Carley
Mitch Kowalski—————–Brian Haley
Karen Kowalski———–Geraldine Hughes

Other people besides me have commented that the character played by Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino” could easily be seen as a retired Dirty Harry, the character created on screen by Mr. Eastwood back in 1971 for the film “Dirty Harry.” Dirty Harry is Harry Callahan, a cop that has a clear sense of right and wrong as he showed us in a total of five movie adventures. I feel warm towards this notion even though it is made clear in the film that Walt Kowalski, the character Mr. Eastwood plays in “Gran Torino” is a retired Detroit factory worker.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Eastwood has so many heroic roles in his past that he is bound to carry a little of each of those roles to a film like “Gran Torino” where he must become a very heroic character before the end credits roll.

In “Gran Torino” Mr. Eastwood presents to us a character who must deal with culture shock as his once Polish neighborhood is now a neighborhood made up of people of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Like all cultures they are made up of good and bad people and it takes Walt a little while to sort out the good from the bad but when he does it’s “Katie, bar the door.”

Part of the reason that Walt Kowalski is a bit lost for awhile is because of the death of his beloved wife which blinds him to all else but his grief. Anyone that gets between him and his depressive state is looking for trouble.

Mr. Eastwood is an amazing man because if you take a look at his career he seems to be gliding along in his own world of moviemaking. It appears that he takes no note of what his fellow filmmakers are doing but instead gives us movies that are rewarding to him and to the audience.

For the most part he has been successful in supplying us with films that are far from being in sync with the rest of the industry and they are refreshing events and so it is with “Gran Torino.” It has been reported that there has been applause from the audiences at the end of “Gran Torino.”

Why does that not surprise me?


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