8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bitter-Sweet Gem, 13 Feb. 2009
Clint Eastwood has not starred in a movie of this quality since The Bridges of Madison County - A Korean war veteran, Walt Kowalski, has an apparent hatred for most things around him since the loss of his wife, including his own children, his wife's priest and, crucially to the plot, the Asian neighbours who have moved in to most of the houses in his, previously all American, neighbourhood. This tough Detroit suburb is plagued by a violent gang culture. When Thao, the teenage son of the family next door, is tasked by his cousin's gang, as an initiation, to try and steel Walts prize possession, a 1972 Gran Torino, the trouble begins. To preserve the family's honour, Thao is made to work for Walt and, despite himself, Walt gradually begins to befriend the family and his deep set prejudices begin to mellow. To such an extent that he becomes their protector from the gangs and eventually becomes a target himself.
Despite most of the initial humour in this movie stemming from the racist views of Walt, Clint Eastwood delivers this in such an overtly prejudged, grumpy and macho manner that it really is hilarious. Thao's Grandmother gives just as good as she gets, even though neither can understand each other, and the snide comments and looks across the garden fence are amongst some of the best scenes.
Considering the majority of the actors in this film have little if no previous acting experience, this is a superbly delivered film on all counts. Myself and my wife found ourselves being charmed and gripped by this brilliant movie in equal measures.