How is it possible that after over fifty years of acting, bad guys have yet to learn not to mess with Clint Eastwood,
In “Gran Torino”, Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, an elder crank whose wife has just passed away. Although the audience never meets her, we get the sense she may have been the last thing suppressing his simmering rage. His neighbourhood has not aged well; his white neighbours have moved out and the foreigners have moved in, turning it into a ghetto. Local hoodlums terrorise everyone; that is, until Walt puts a stop to it.
He scares the gangsters off, not for noble purposes, but because they went on his lawn and he wanted them off. Even when the neighbours thank him, he curses their gratitude. Nevertheless, he becomes a local hero and they constantly bring him food and invite him into their lives.
Now that Walt’s wife is gone, the only beauty in his life is his Gran Torino. Taking the car becomes the boy next-door’s rite of passage into the local gang, but he messes it up and the shame he’s brought to his traditional family means he must serve Walt until he is satisfied, which is where Walt’s transformation begins.
“Gran Torino” is a terrific film. Eastwood has become a true master of making films that have a rare emotional depth. In addition, he’s still a great actor who can lead audiences to love a man who has many reasons to be unlovable.