It's hard to start a review of a Clint Eastwood movie. You already know what you are getting if you are paying attention, a finely crafted film with a gripping story and an unexpected ending that will leave you feeling anything but the typical happy. Gran Torino fills that checklist, as you would expect. And once again, as you should have come to expect by now, Gran Torino is a masterful film, that will surely have the Academy as excited as I am.
I loved Gran Torino. No other fancy words are necessary, no hyperbole, no bad metaphors. The movie is fantastic, the acting, the pacing, the story, the characters. The only thing that I would argue was slightly below the phenomenal level would be the cinematography, but the point of the movie didn't suit fancy cinematography, so even that was perfect in it's own right. Let's look at what Clint has been laying on us in the past few years.
Gran Torino (2008) - Super Hella Awesome
Changeling (2008) - Awesome
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) - Super Hella Awesome
Flags of Our Fathers (2006) - Awesome
Million Dollar Baby (2004) - Super Hella Awesome
Mystic River (2003) - Super Hella Awesome
Blood Work (2002) - Awesome
Space Cowboys (2000) - Awesome
True Crime (1999) - Super Hella Awesome
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) - Super Hella Awesome
Absolute Power (1997) - Super Hella Awesome
The Bridges of Madison County (1995) -Super Hella Awesome if you were a girl
A Perfect World (1993) - Awesome
Unforgiven (1992) - Super Hella Awesome
Now that, ladies and gentleman, is how you direct films for the last 16 years. Holy shit right? That's 9 legitimately Super Hella Awesome movies without one blatant stinker. All behind the directors chair. And 5 of those movies are going to be all-timers (Torino, Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Unforgiven). I'm not even going deep into the man's catalog here, as I think some of us youngsters don't realize Clint directed his first movie back in 1971, the relationship thriller Play Misty For Me, where you can see Clint as a DJ.
So, this much is clear, Clint rules. Let's get back in the Torino shall we?
The movie starts as Walt Kowalski (Clint) has just lost his wife, who clearly is the only person in his life that he had a loving relationship with. His kids are assholes, his grandchildren the offspring of assholes, and he happens to be an equal opportunity bigot. Therein is your movie, and it doesn't take a scientist to figure out where we are going from there. The thing that Eastwood has always excelled in as a storyteller is making obvious which road we go on, only to find that the obvious we envisioned is different from the obvious that life gives us. Life is never what we expect it to be.
Thanks for the reminder Clint.