Rating: 2 stars
He lost me with the growl. In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a recent widower and Korean War Vet who is pissed at the world. He’s pissed that his neighbors are all Asians and Latinos—“gooks” and “wetbacks” he calls them. He’s pissed that no one buys American anymore. (He worked at the Ford plant for 25 years and keeps his '72 Gran Torino in mint condition.) He’s pissed that kids today have no respect. He’s pissed that his regular male doctor has been replaced by a young female one. And so on. . . How do we know Walt is pissed? Because Walt grits his teeth, spits his chaw in disgust, rolls his eyes, and yes, growls.
I sure wish the director had told Clint to dial it back a little. Oh wait. . .Clint is the director.
Gran Torino is supposed to be cathartic for the viewer: part recipe for social healing, part vigilante justice film. (More than one critic has dubbed it, Dirty Harry: the Later Years.) You see, Walt is no mere angry white guy. He’s an angry white guy with a gun. So when a Hmong gang try to recruit Walt...