Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood's latest movie, "Gran Torino", didn't always get great reviews (although Margaret and David from At The Movies liked it well enough), but I found it a worthwhile and enjoyable film to watch.

In similar fashion to the way "Unforgiven" (Clint's best movie) rehabilitated him as a Western movie maker, "Torino" follows in the footsteps of the "Dirty Harry" movies, but with much more grace.

In this film, Clint plays Walt Kowalski, a retired Detroit auto-worker who has recently been widowed, who lives in a rundown Detroit neighbourhood now populated largely by Hmong refugees.

The film doesn't have the slick production values of Unforgiven, but the acting is high quality and you get a good feel for life in the decaying suburbia of the rust belt.

Walt doesn't much like his new neighbours (or his now remote children and their families) but he finds himself drawn into their world as gang trouble disrupts the lives of the newly arrived family next door.

Like most of Clint's movies, this is a libertarian fantasy of sorts, with one man defying an unpleasant collective and finding a way to overcome them (I was expecting a re-run of the ending of Unforgiven as the movie unfolded, but was pleasantly surprised to see a novel ending). Unlike his other fantasies, in this story the lone hero relies on the state to administer justice in the end, so maybe Clint is mellowing as he reaches the end of his career.