I’ll be honest: I’m not a big Clint Eastwood fan.
I stay clear of any type of western, no matter how much they try to lure me by associating themselves with spaghetti. Growing up, I have a faint memory of watching a movie with Eastwood and either Johnny Deep or Christian Slater, can’t remember which. His last movies were simply painful to watch and too disturbing for a second watch.
I couldn’t even finish watching Bridges of Madison County.
Gran Torino, on the other hand, is a completely different case.
Eastwood is Walt Kowalski, an intolerant old man who, after his wife's death, has to deal with his estranged family, an insistent priest and too many immigrants in his neighborhood.
Walt is alone and feeling completely alienated from his environment. As a Korean war veteran and a long time worker of a Ford factory, he doesn’t fit in a world of ethnic gangs and cocky teenagers.
Things start to change when his neighbor Thao tries to steal his coveted, vintage Gran Torino. Under Walt’s wings, Thao, also alienated from his surroundings, will learn how to be a straight up guy.
Many people don’t like this movie because Eastwood’s character is just so politically incorrect. But there's more to the movie than Walt's rants. At times, the movie is very funny, like in the scene where Walt and his barber teach Thao how to talk like a man. There are also very moving dialogues, such as the one when, replying to a man talking in a foreign language, Walt approvingly says: “You said it, brother.”
Following the general tone of his latest movies, Gran Torino has some strong scenes, but it is a much easier watch than Changeling or Mystic River.
And whether we like it or not, Walt is one of the most interesting things about Gran Torino. He is this crazy 80 year old Dirty Harry - who will totally surprise you in the end.
For last year's Easter I talked about the film The Passion of the Christ and this year I chose Gran Torino. It deals with very real human dramas and several modern problems but presents an utterly Christian solution to them.
Who knew a Clint Eastwood movie would be such a fitting option for Easter?
Have you seen Gran Torino? What do you think about Clint Eastwood movies?