Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Gran Torino * * * * *
Directed by: Clint Eastwood / 2008

“The Old Rugged Cross”

I think we’d all like and not like to have Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski living next door. We’d like him there because he would serve as the patriarch of the neighborhood watch. We wouldn’t like him there because he would definitely say what’s on his mind, mumble lines of hate or disgust to our faces and even get a little trigger happy. Clint Eastwood nails the crotchety old man bit, mixed with some classic Eastwood performances to perfection and delivers on all cylinders in what I think is his best film study since “Unforgiven”. I’m kicking myself for not seeing this one in a crowded theater. I would have loved to sit in uncomfortable snickers during the first half hour, confused if I was watching a comedy, and then turn to tears from both laughter and heart with my fellow Wally Watchers. Hallelujah, this movie is amazing (g)race! How can so much love, faith, joy and redemption come out of a centerpiece of hate with a buried heart like Walt Kowalski? Watch “Gran Torino” and be floored at the outcome and the wealth of ideas to chew on in the aftermath. Creators of “Crash”, THIS is how you make a meaningful and moving movie about race and commentary on the state of the nation and the changing of the guard! It’s so simple and goes so much further and I'm perplexed at the lack of Academy Award support for this one. This is how you make a movie that is relevant and going to stick around and better with age, just like its mainstay in front of and behind the camera. Clint Eastwood claims that Walt Kowalski will be his final screen character as an actor. I hope he’s wrong, though I can’t think of a better and more bitter-sweet way for him to bow out of acting. Let’s just hope he continues this astonishing directing power and pace well into his 80s and 90s because his 60s and 70s have produced some of his finest work. Actually, I think that Clint Eastwood has morphed into a chunk of solid, long-lasting Oak. I look forward to many great years to come living next door via his wonderful movies. -djg

1 comment:

T Paul Buzan said...

im no cinephile but when a flick makes me wanna go out and buy the DVD as soon as a leave a theatre, well that is a winner in my book.

i loved the final sequences where Clint/Walt manages to both indulge in and (lightly) parody the "tough guy" anti-hero figure before turning it around for a meaningful finale.

wonderful stuff.