Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Movie Review: Gran Torino

I've been a Clint Eastwood fan for quite a while now, both of his old and his new work. When he first started directing, I was a bit skeptical how well he could do, since at the time I thought he was only a great actor, but I think we all know that he's proven himself time and time again, and "Gran Torino" is no exception.

The movie tells a story of Walter Kowalski, a weathered old war veteran played by Clint Eastwood who lives in the same neighborhood he did years ago. The neighborhood has changed for the worse over the years, and he find himself surrounded by gangs, hoodlums, and foreigners... none of which he's particularly fond of.

Walt is a very old-fashioned kind of guy, and while his character came off as very unlikeable at first I thought later on I seemed to have a lot more respect for him. I think part of his character is due to Clint Eastwood being such a great actor, but part of it is just due to the high quality of the writing, which would also be thanks to Mr. Eastwood.

Overall, Clint Eastwood really makes this movie shine. His writing, his acting, the story, all of that is perfect. The only thing that brings the quality of the movie down a bit for me is the quality of the acting from some of the other actors. Now, it's not horrible, but it's not amazing, and it stands out next to Eastwood's amazing performance. That's not to say all of the other actors were bad, the actress who played the Korean girl who lived next door did an amazing job, and she also became a very likable character.

The movie doesn't take any major twists, but it does have a dramatic climax, and when that happens, you really feel like you've connected with those characters, and it just makes all of the drama better. That's not to say the movie has a strictly dramatic feel, there are also some spices of comedy in there to lighten the mood, and it also helps the character development.

Overall, Gran Torino is a film that takes a chance, does something original, and takes us away from the bland drama that populates a large majority of the theater screens today. It's not so original that it alienates everybody by being too weird, but it's just original enough to tell a story that hasn't been told before, and tells it with great cinematography, and overall solid acting (with the exception of Eastwood, of course). I give Gran Torino 5 out of 5 stars.

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