When a man can direct, produce, act and write the score for his own movie he's either God, a genius, or just thinks he's a genius. Seeing as though Clint Eastwood might be older than God, I'm leaning toward the former. The man is old. He's pre-democracy old. It's like trying to ignore a pigeon's carcass lying on top of your spicy chicken pasta at dinner time. And there's maggots crawling on the pigeon.
A Vietnamese family moves in next door to miserable codgery old Walt (Eastwood). The son, Thao (Bee Vang), is forced to try and steal his puce green Gran Torino car in some sort of traditional Asian gang initiation which might explain why I always see hoardes of Asians roaming used car lots. The boy and Walt make friends. There is gang trouble, people get hurt and Walt ends up the hero. The plot is so predictable and flimsy that the collective yawn of audience members this weekend might produce the equivalent of a black hole. If this leaves gaping pockets of "nothing" where movie theaters used to stand like horrible acne, I'll be eternally grateful to Gran Torino for popping those pimples.
I couldn't help but notice that Clint Eastwood has become a sad parody of past roles that he has played. Kind of like old men rehashing their days in the army, Clint is reliving his glory days. Walt Kowalski is like a demonized manifestation of Dirty Harry, Jose Wales and Blondie surfacing in a mind teetering on senility. He has the need to spit all the time like he's chewing tobacco. Attempts at menacing scowls contort his face, but it's more like a doddering grandfather making funny faces at his grandchildren. And the man still thinks he's intimidating. What he doesn't understand is that we're not cowering because of the gun in his hand, we're cowering because his twisted, arthiritic fingers make us cringe and remind us that we might have a similar fate.
Gran Torino is a challenging film to watch. Walt Kowalski is the funniest character Eastwood has ever unintentionally made. For a lesson in racial slurs, watch this movie. I don't think I've ever heard such creative ways of insulting minorities in my life. On the other hand I was sucked into watching a Vietnamese actor displaying the emotional range of a wet lump of coal for the entire movie.
It's obvious that Clint is trying to squeeze another Academy Award out of this one before he finally kicks it. Why else would he load the movie with talentless Asian theatre actors who, according to some of their voices, think they're in an anime cartoon? It's because they make him look good.
Where did they find these actors? Well quite obviously they bought them from a textile factory in Cambodia, and along the way herded a group of Asian migrant workers from the oriental ghetto onto the set with them. And there you are, a cast - made in China, just like the rest of the crap we buy.
I won't tell you if he dies or not. I'll let that nugget of screen gold drag you through the hordes of Vietnamese people to the end when you can see it for yourself. But be prepared. A twist in this movie is as involved as a four piece puzzle. Everything is exactly as it seems.
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