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Gran Torino
Year:
2008
Country:
USA, Germany, Australia
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
8.2
Director:
Clint Eastwood
Christopher Carley as Father Janovich
Bee Vang as Thao Vang Lor
Ahney Her as Sue Lor
Brian Haley as Mitch Kowalski
Geraldine Hughes as Karen Kowalski
Dreama Walker as Ashley Kowalski
Brian Howe as Steve Kowalski
John Carroll Lynch as Barber Martin
William Hill as Tim Kennedy
Chee Thao as Grandma
Choua Kue as Youa
Storyline: Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy old man who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors. He is a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.
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Reviews
Overrated and predictable
Saw this film based on recommendations from friends and the internet and i don't understand what all the fuss is about.

The performance by Eastwood is not bad, but the rest of the entire cast is lacking. I mean really, there only are about three main actors and two of them sounded emotionless, even in scenes of distress. Bad to mediocre acting and uninspired dialogue left me with a dull scene to scene story, that unwinds predictably. Some useless scenes feel like they missed the cut in post and the very last part - where Walt leaves for the gang house - even has some dodgy time-of-day issues. It's not rocket science to get the details right in a low-budget, simple film like this and these kinds of mistakes don't give me the impression of strong quality control.

I wish i could say more positive things as i was really expecting more from this film but all in all, the two hour experience was not a particular entertaining one and didn't leave me satisfied.
2014-11-17
Clint Eastwood at his worst
Honestly, this movie deserves more than one star but I need to neutralize all these nine and ten stars that I can't understand. I like Clint Eastwood's movies as much as anyone else, and I know it might be the last one in which he shows up on the screen, but it's not even close to being one of his best movie. Even that one good thing that some reviewers mentioned, and that is Clint Eastwood's acting, looks good only in comparison to the very bad job the rest of the cast does. I mean, what's with that growl? Didn't we have a multiple other hints, none of them subtle, that Mr. Kowalski is an embittered old man? Somewhere in the middle, I hoped that would be a movie about what a parent or a friend could or should do when a kid is bothered by a local gang. But, there is no any effort to think about that problem any deeper. Too bad!
2010-04-12
Horrible
My first ever post on this site has been kept for the biggest waste of time of my life...ever! How it is in the the top 250 i have no idea. For the people who have given this 10 / 10 I'm not sure you were in the right screen. The acting in this film was horrible...the story line wasn't even paper thin and the moral of the story was become friends with old people and get their cars.

I was expecting Clint to do a big build up to a full all out war on gangs...but no...just growled and drank beer.

It has one star because negative numbers are not an option Just avoid this film and save yourself time, effort and money.
2009-06-23
Who is voting on this?
It shouldn't be an easy feat to enter the IMDb top 250 films and I have to ask how this movie is currently there. I found it unbearably difficult to watch due to ridiculous acting, rotten script and all over dumbed down scenes. I don't think I have seen many 8.2 rated movies that I disliked so much that it has begged the question- who is voting on this? How many of the votes are the opinions of real people watching movies and not some guy working for the movie company with hundreds of fake user names voting to boost the ratings of this garbage.

Paranoid? Maybe.

I've seen comments here that Eastwood should get an Oscar for this. I'm no big fan generally of the types of Hollywood films that go up for awards but if he wins anything from this film I'll be shocked.
2009-01-08
Save yourself the price of admission!
I have always liked Clints work and after seeing this movie I was sadly disappointed. I thought his character was well played and more or less well developed, however everything after the initial 10 minutes or so was just awful. The Asian actors were absolutely horrible not to mention completely unbelievable...there was a glimmer there with the young girl who first approached Clints character, but she was quickly lost in a bad script and the audience was left wanting to care about her but there just wasn't enough screen time to allow us to. I won't go into plot..it wasn't a complete bunch of garbage...but the second rate acting made this movie a huge disappointment. I hope Clint makes something else soon because I would hate to think of this as his last work to remember him by. Save yourself the price of admission and if you're a real fan of Clints work...rent it...don't buy it!
2009-01-26
Eastwood excels at storytelling
Gran Torino - They don't make them like they used to....

Mr. Eastwood has a knack for storytelling. Instead of being preachy or having an all to obvious agenda, he lets his viewers make up their own minds. His characters don't have a message, they have a life and make no excuses for who they are. In so many subtle and intelligent ways we are allowed to make our own choices. Like with Kowalski in the movie, you are not confronted with a role model hammering home all those "life's important messages", but rather with a movie saying "Look! This is the way it worked out for me. And I think I know a few tricks that might help you, but in the end it's your own life. However, you have to trust me when I say that there are a some things you don't want to see or experience!". Some people will leave this movie entirely untouched, others will certainly be crying their guts out. Not because some people "get it" and others "don't", but because it is a brilliant piece of entertainment reaching out to every viewer in its own specific way.

Eastwood's acting is top notch again, although the years have not been very kind to his voice. The rest of the cast are fine, but one can certainly spot their more amateurish backgrounds here and there which is the main reason why I could not give this one a 10/10.

Apart from that there is little to criticize. It's not an action movie, not a drama movie and certainly not a comedy (even though you get a few laughs out of this one). It's simply a good story about life.....and death.
2008-12-14
Didn't make my day
I am a Clint Eastwood fan, but not lately.He has decided to reveal a human side of himself - went to the Wizard and acquired a heart. He also revealed he is a wooden actor and a plodding, predictable director. Gran Torino is uninteresting at best and tedious at worst,worse even than Million Dollar Baby,and contains some of the worst actors ever subjected to the silver screen. I did enjoy the Christ-image at the end as he is sprawled on the lawn,which was an unintentional touch of humor. He says he is going to continue directing pictures and maybe next time he could hire a professional screenwriter.

Speaking of directing, the Directors of the IMDb website should monitor entries more carefully.Currently, Gran Torino has an 8.5 ranking, which is a travesty.Since this puts it in with some mighty good movies,modern filmgoers obviously haven't a clue regarding what makes a good picture.Perhaps a separate category could be designated for films made after,say,1980.That might separate the film lovers from the dilettantes.
2009-01-17
watch harry brown instead.
in short. woeful acting from everyone, its really, really bad, clint's never been a great actor in the true sense of the word, but he always had a huge presence which is still here somewhat but his lazy delivery is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the stilted performances here. this leads us to the next stages, script and characters, neither of which help the actors performances. the dialogue is awful, stilted and wooden and the characters are so stereotypical its unreal and make the whole thing almost laughable if it wasn't so insulting to any viewer who doesn't keep their brain in a jar. i said in short so id best just leave off with the plot, predictable, predictable and, yes, very, very predictable. clint is a screen legend but im sure if he made a documentary on paint drying itd be nominated for an Oscaror two, i genuinely wish more effort had been put in and some enjoyment could be had. watch harry brown instead.
2010-03-22
Dirty Harry in retirement
I find most of Eastwood's films since his "Spaghetti Western" days get rave reviews, despite the fact that they're mostly pretty mediocre fare, and this one's no exception.

The basic storyline is familiar enough, if maybe having a few concessions to 21st century culture. But the litany of caricatures instead of more rounded-out rolls just annoys the hell out of me. Is there any group of people that are as "all evil all the time" as Walt's neighborhood gang? Or anyone as condescending and clueless as his son and daughter-in-law? And then Walt himself is horrendously uneven in his demeanor. He's gruff and bigoted one minute, and then drops over to the neighbor's house for a meal and stays on even after numerous gaffs and confrontations and even though the lady of the house seems to hate his guts. He fluctuates between unbelievably hateful and defensive to "old softy" without little reason or predictability. The overall impression being not very credible. He's obviously a character in a movie, and the script takes every opportunity to remind us of that.

Then after Walt and "Toad" assume the traditional mentor/lackey relationship mode, Walt starts out by teaching Toad to "talk like a man" with absolutely stupid, even silly results. I'm amazed that that whole bit didn't end up on the cutting room floor. I guess they needed some filler material. Anyway, that bit was lame.

And then to think that a drive-by shooting (with full-automatic weapons no less) and the savage, brutal rape and beating of a young girl wouldn't result in any arrests, but somehow the murder of a white guy would convince the neighbors to all come forward to accuse the gang, well, it strains credulity yet again. And further, somehow the fact that Walt was not really armed would seal the gang's fate, but gunning him down (again with full-auto weapons) would somehow have been justified if Walt HAD been carrying a gun, again just comes off as utterly irrational. Maybe the idea of an "honest" gunfight worked in the old westerns, but it doesn't in the real world. Again, silliness.

While I enjoyed much of Walt's curmudgeonly, in-your-face, brutal honesty, the over-the-top excesses worked against every really suspending your disbelief to get into the movie. I wish Mr. Eastwood would've toned down the extremes a little in all the characters and had a little bit better script to work with. Like "The Gauntlet" or "High Plains Drifter" or so much of his other work, a little restraint would've made SUCH a better movie...
2010-03-28
Yet another Eastwood gem
I feel like I should let everyone reading this know of my inherent bias in favor of this film. I have seen twenty eight films from Clint Eastwood as director and have liked the vast majority of them, and loved a good number of them (my average rating for the 28 films is 7.9). Still, something felt off about "Gran Torino" based on the trailer. I read it as Eastwood trying to be 'badass' again, trying to be Dirty Harry again. "Gran Torino" is not that. Walt Kowalski may have similarities with Dirty Harry, and could possibly be read as a significantly older version of Harry (it's a stretch), but he is a distinctive, memorable character on his own, and I'd go as far as saying that it's one of Eastwood's finest performances, and one which gives him a chance to show off his dramatic and comedic chops.

I'm not going to argue that "Gran Torino" has perfect acting from the younger supporting cast. It doesn't. In fact, some of them are downright bad at times, but the film works in spite of its flaws. This screenplay was probably written with Eastwood in mind (I am not sure of the behind-the-scenes details on this) and it shows. He captures Kowalski perfectly. The film is surprisingly humorous, something that isn't being captured well enough in advertising. It's absolutely hilarious at times (watch as Kowalski attempts to make a man out of Thao by teaching him how to talk like men do), and Eastwood handles the shifts in tone brilliantly. When the film takes a dark turn towards the end I sat on the edge of my seat in suspense, fully aware of where it was heading but still mesmerized by Eastwood's tour-de-force direction. This is an artist at his prime as an actor and as a director.

Whether or not "Gran Torino" will hold up as one of Eastwood's great films remains to be seen, and the film feels like it would be good for multiple viewings. The characterization is strong and not simplistic at all, you could argue that Kowalski is just another grouchy war vet, but Eastwood's beautiful, nuanced performance as well as some neat little touches in the screenplay (particularly towards the end) which I won't discuss in detail to avoid spoiling anything (and it's really fun to watch this movie unfold, Eastwood keeps the film moving at a wonderfully involving pace) would prove you wrong. The film works on yet another level as a deconstruction of Eastwood's image. I don't mean that as a negative, it just adds to the film's strength as a character study.

It's a more intimate film than Eastwood's other film this year, "Changeling", and also on a smaller scale than many of his other films, but it's just as ambitious in many ways. This is not a politically correct film about a grouchy old racist suddenly turning into the most tolerant person around, it is a film about a man who, near the end of his life, is forced to confront his demons, and on the sunnier side about a man who finds true friendship where he least expected it. By the end of "Gran Torino" I had forgiven any flaws it might have, and was completely satisfied with the film, which far exceeded my expectations. I have a feeling that "Gran Torino", which has already been met with strongly positive reviews (but is still being described as a 'minor' Eastwood film by some), will eventually become an especially important part of Eastwood's filmography.
2008-12-15
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