A truly magnificent and well-made human drama...though for much of the running time, I kept getting the sneaking suspicion that I was actually watching a Paul Newman picture! Only during the last ten minutes does it become a more typically recognisable Clint Eastwood flick.
Clint plays Walt Kowalski - an embittered veteran of the Korean war, who can't get along with his children, or anybody else for that matter. Only his yellow Labrador, Daisy seems to be his friend. And after his service in Korea, having Oriental neighbours hardly helps his attitude either. Following the death of his wife at the start, it is apparent that all his avaricious offspring are concerned about is what he's going to do with the house he lives in!
Eastwood shines in his first lead acting role in four years, while there are several very good "bit" parts, viz. Brian Howe and Brian Haley as his two arrogant sons; John Carrolll Lynch as his barber, and especially Christopher Carley, as the young neighborhood priest, who is initially despised by Kowalski.
Keeping it in the family: son Scott Eastwood plays Kowalski's eldest son, while other son Kyle Eastwood, composed the worthwhile musical score.
This well-acclaimed production is Eastwood's most lucrative film to date.
Retired auto worker Walt Kowalski fills his days with home repair, beer and monthly trips to the barber. The people he once called his neighbors have all moved or passed away, replaced by Hmong immigrants, from Southeast Asia, he despises.
Resentful of virtually everything he sees, Walt is just waiting out the rest of his life. Until the night someone tries to steal his `72 Gran Torino. The Gran Torino brings his shy teenaged neighbor Thao into his life when Hmong gangbangers pressure the boy into trying to steal it. But Walt stands in the way of both the heist and the gang, making him the reluctant hero of the neighborhood - especially to Thao's mother and older sister, Sue, who insist that Thao work for Walt as a way to make amends.
Though he initially wants nothing to do with these people, Walt eventually gives in and puts the boy to work fixing up the neighborhood, setting into motion an unlikely friendship that will change both their lives.
|Country of origin:
||192 x 137 x 15mm (L x W x T)
||1 hour, 52 minutes
Region 2. This DVD will play in all South African DVD players.
|| Dolby Digital 5.1
|| Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1)
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Review This Product
Thu, 10 Mar 2011 | Review by: Carlisle Johnson
This critically acclaimed film shows director/producer/star Clint Eastwood in top form yet again. Much like his character in Million Dollar Baby, he plays Walt, a gruff old man who has a disliking of everyone around him, especially the Koreans that have moved in next door, since he fought in the Korean War. The movie begins with the memorial service of his recently deceased wife, and all he adores now in this world is his classic Ford Gran Torino. But when his neighbourhood starts being overrun by some thugs and they continually target the shy and timid Korean kid next door, he takes a stand and gets to know and bond with his neighbours.
The storyline might seem simple, but there's so much more weighty issues as well. As Walt also has a non-existent relationship with his 2 sons, a relationship that is in dire need of patching up once the boys' mother dies and they realise their father is all they have left. Eastwood also focusses alot of the story on the differences between the youth and the elderly, and this is applicable in any suburb in the world.
The acting is first-rate from Eastwood, who can combine sarcasm, wit and disdain without you realizing he's even doing it. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast are all newcomers, and it shows. But this doesn't spoil the movie too much, it's still a brilliant storyline, with a terrific ending. (4 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
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