Gran Torino



Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;  Where but to think is to be full of sorrow.

I remember reading Philip Roth’s Everyman a couple of years ago and then Garcia Marquez’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores more recently; both of which tell rather morbidly, the stories of old men who after living lives of  regret and philandering are faced with their imminent mortality and unfulfilled desires. Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino draws strong parallels to these stories. Walt Kowalski, however, shuts his emotions in and redeems himself in the strangest and, for a film with so much profanity and tongue-in-cheek political incorrectness,  most gut wrenching of ways.

Eastwood plays a tired and lonely version of Dirty Harry or even, Blondie, who finds himself as an antique from a bygone era in drastically different times. Like most scowling old people, Walt Kowalski is an irate old man who feels the world truly went under after the 60s. He invariably ends up helping a young Hmong immigrant find his bearings in a gang infested neighbourhood. Unlike the terrible Seven Pounds, Gran Torino lets us empathize with a character who learns how to finally let go of life. I do realize suicide is an ethically sketchy subject, but rarely has a film tackled it with such grace. 

And that final scene where Tao drives off in the Grand Torino – such catharsis.


PS: Oh yeah, spoilers.


5 Responses to “Gran Torino”

  1. Thanks for the spoiler warning btw. I loved Everyman. Is Grand Torino depressing?

  2. A bit depressing but overall, I’d like to think the film is sort of uplifting. You should watch it; at least for Eastwood’s scowling mug.

  3. 3 soorajrox

    ah, the scowl. Amazing how well that fit in the movie.

  4. I don’t really like Clint Eastwood directed movies. But maybe because mostly I’ve seen the ones with him not in it. Maybe his scowl makes up for things…

  5. @sooraj All I could think of was Swenny’s ‘tough look’. 🙂

    @kalafudra His films are usually dark and layered. This one’s no different though there are some glaring flaws. Read your review of Changeling; I’m unsure how you’ll feel about Gran Torino now.

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