Sunday, January 11, 2009
Movie Reviews: GRAN TORINO
Walt Kowalski is an iron-willed veteran living in a changing world, who is forced by his immigrant neighbors to confront his own long-held prejudices.
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley, Brian Haley
Director: Clint Eastwood
Opened December 12, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 56 min.
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Genres: Psychological Drama, Urban Drama, Drama
Clint Eastwood’s latest film is a straightforward but very engaging tale of redemption and race. Eastwood in the lead role is everything we remember from the Dirty Harry movies. Gruff and harsh, his Walt Kowalski is a racist who is disgusted with the changing world around him. Still, Eastwood as an actor has an ability to show the audience Kowalski’s inner goodness well before the character’s road toward redemption. It’s a fascinating performance, the kind that acknowledges his past cinematic personas but with something more meaningful to say. The rest of the cast fill their roles well, particularly Christopher Carley as the green priest trying to fulfill Kowalski’s late wife’s dying wish and get Kowalski to confession. John Carroll Lynch has fun in his small role as Kowalski’s friend and barber. The Hmong cast is made up of mostly non pro actors and actresses with Ahney Her showing some real skill. Bee Vang does an adequate job as Thao but shows his inexperience as the role begins to require more emotional depth. Eastwood’s direction in unassuming and subtle throughout only becoming a tad heavy handed with some musical cues when Kowalski gets ready to take care of business. Story wise, at times reminiscent of less aggressive Taxi Driver, this film doesn’t deliver surprises outside of an unexpected finale which delivers a sober but effective emotional punch. At 78, Clint Eastwood shows us why he’s been such a force for in cinema for so long and still as effective as ever.