Gran Torino ***
I was planning quick reviews of several movies that I recently have seen. I think Clint Eastwood and Gran Torino, are a subject to themselves, interesting enough to not gloss over.
Torino is like combinding Archie Bunker, Dirty Harry and Crash together. Eastwood is a Michigan based, retired auto worker Walter Kowalski. His wife the source of stability and love in his life died. The movie opens at her funeral. We're introduced to a young preacher, who was close spiritually to Kowalski's wife. In addition we meet his ungrateful family, who are thinking about what belongings of the deceased they will acquire. Walter is not Mr. Personality. Every person he comes across, he has a racist or humiliating slur for them.
His neighbors are a big Hmong family. We are reminded throughout the film about Kowalski killing "gooks" in Korea. He sits on the porch, giving evil stares to his neighbors.
When Hmong gangbangers rough up the family members, he gets into Dirty Harry mode, goes into his house, and brings out a rifle, and says, "Get off my lawn." The heels flee. The Hmong family show gratitude by bringing gifts to his steps. He refuses at first, and claims he was only protecting his lawn. He eventually breaks down and gains interest in the family, which contrasts to his own. Kowalski becomes like a father figure to their two well behaved teens.
All of the Hmong (Kowalski called Hamong in the movie) actors, were found in open casting. Eastwood's acting was so strong, that it covered up for the rest of the cast.
Minneapolis has a large Hmong community that is not happy with this flick. I don't believe the purpose of the movie was to show Hmong culture documentary style. It could serve as an introduction to Hmong culture for the heartland.
Walter Kowalski is the real name of famous wrestler Killer Kowalski, who also was at one time a real life Detroit auto worker.
This movie is everything you like about Clint Eastwood.