As this movie is fairly new, I had better warn you that we are heading into ‘spoiler territory’. Okay???
This movie has been heralded as Clint Eastwood’s ‘masterpiece’. It’s ok but not as good as some others he’s been in, like ‘Bronco Billy’ and ‘Heartbreak Ridge’. Gran Torino tugs at the heartstrings continually, asking us to get involved, clutching at our legs, and eventually we are dragged into the movie.
Gran Torino is a car, not an old Italian lady. Just thought I’d clear that up.
It begins with a funeral, an open casket with Clint stood at its head. Actually the casket is acting Clint off the screen at this point. Not a good start. We feel that the wrong one is being buried.
A good buddy of mine reckons Clint’s character ‘Walt’ is really Dirty Harry gone old. I disagree most vehemently. It’s Lurch from the Addams Family gone old. Seriously. Check out the guttural groans peppered throughout this epic. Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-rr-rrr…
‘Walt’ is a bitter racist who fought in Korea. The barrage of racist quips is soon nullified as we realise that they are ‘just words’ (according to the movies ‘apologists’). I find racism repulsive except when it is used to provoke Spike Lee. But hey, if it’s good enough for Clint – that’s fine. All his buddies in the film think it’s adorable and join in with huge cheesy grins!
He discovers that he likes foreign food. The ice is thawing…
He abuses the young man who lives next door and makes him do all sorts of chores. Eventually he falls in love with ‘Toad’ and acts as a kind of begrudging subliminal ‘mentor’. I half expected him to shout ‘wax on – wax off’ at him. Or croak it at least.
‘Walt’ smokes a lot of cigarettes and spits blood everywhere. He is not a well man. He will probably die soon. Sympathy for ‘Walt’ please.
Reminds me a bit of when they used to haul in Nazi war criminals years ago. These guys would be on the doddering side of the ageing process. My mum used to say things like “Awwww… look at him. He’s OLD. Awwww…..”. etc. Draw your own conclusions from THAT bizarre mindset. I used to work in the Housing department for Liverpool City Council many years ago and I can tell you that the really obnoxious ones were the elderly. I had a heated discussion with my dad who insisted that the older generation were more “gentle and polite”. Well, my experience differed greatly. Fortunately I find the younger ones have a far better attitude (albeit one slightly warped by sinister ‘political correctness’) but I am guardedly optimistic.
‘Toad’, under ‘Walt’s’ tutelage, gets a job, pulls a hot chick and gets a cigarette stubbed out on his cheek. He also blows the chance to join a real cool gang. Schmuck.
‘Toad’s’ sister is a feisty young thang who likes ‘Walt’. Her persistence means that ‘Walt’ likes her too. She gets attacked and ‘Walt/Clint’ does that face thing he did to such great effect in that crap film he made with Burt Reynolds.
After much anxiety, ‘Walt’ sorts out everyone’s mess and croaks on the floor in the famous Soundgarden ‘Jesus Christ Pose’.
‘Toad’ inherits the car.
This film is just under 2 hours long and the time passes fairly quickly so you could say I enjoyed it. Will I watch it again? For sure. Should YOU watch it? Absolutely. Is it Clint’s best film ever? No, but should it have to be?
Clint is one of the great treasures of the USA and is loved all over the world.
I love him anyway, but in a manly way.