Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gran Torino

I've never watched a Dirty Harry movie. But I know who Dirty Harry is, Clint Eastwood playing a 1970s macho, pragmatic cop with very little respect for petty rules and regulations who has a habit of getting results. Without him there would be no Jack Bauer.

Clint Eastwood (now 78-years-old) has said that Gran Torino is the last film he will act in. And it could have been called 'Redeeming Dirty Harry'.

Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a curmudgeonly, racist, working-class Korean war veteran. The film opens with the funeral of his wife. The camera pans around the church, showing Walt's grief mingled with his obvious lack of respect for many in the congregation.

And from there it moves into what could easily have become a Dirty Harry movie for pensioners. The fact that Clint Eastwood manages to fashion it into a film that champions honour, rough justice, atonement and community is remarkable and heart-warming.

The cast is solid, with special mention going to Christopher Carley as the young, determined Roman Catholic priest who has been given the unenviable task (by Walt's wife) of extracting a confession from Walt.

Choua Kue (Youa) also provides us with an excellent performance as the neighbour who sees that Walt is an honourable, hurting old man, and works very hard to befriend him.

The film is gripping througout, with an ending that is as satisfying as it is unexpected. If this is Mr Eastwood's last movie role, he will have exited with dignity and honour.

1 comment:

AaB said...

I have this film at home but I have been in no rush to watch it - I will now make time this weekend. Thank you for the review.