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4.5 out of 5 stars461
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 11 November 2010
Gran Torino is the story of Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) - an old, bitter man, fed up with the immigrants flooding his neighbourhood. His Asian neighbours are under pressure from a local gang, and in trying to defend his own property, Walt inadvertently helps them. This leads to a positive, but uneasy, relationship between the racist Walt and the family next door. Unfortunately, the gang won't stay away forever...

Gran Torino is a traditional film in many ways. An irascible old man is won over by people he used to hate, and as the story unfolds, Walt finds new purpose and grows out of his old bitterness. The film works because the traditional themes do not become clichés: Walt's development as a character (and the growth of the other characters) is not unreal or out of proportion for a man of his age, and it is the strength of the characters and their relationships that keep the plot moving forward. I didn't expect the humour throughout the film - in many ways it is a comedy, but this didn't feel out of place, with the humour a product of the characters and their unusual relationships.

The film succeeds on several levels. The acting is excellent (bar, perhaps, a couple of moments from the younger actors); the script is funny and wise; and the themes - of family, and of justice and vengeance - are worked out competently and in a way that provokes further thought. And the soundtrack is good as well!
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This is a review of the Blu-Ray version of Gran Torino.

First of all I did not at any time think 'Wow! What a stunning Blu-Ray picture in 1080P !' That's because from start to finish it looked like a normal standard-def DVD. The extras and options are good however, with spoken language options English (inc Dolby TrueHD), English descriptive narration, French, Dutch, Italian and Castellano. Subtitles excellent - English, French, German, Italian, Castellano, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese and Korean. There is the facility to set up an account with Warner Bros BD-Live, offering on-line up-to-date movie trailers, further information about the Gran Torino film among much more, all of which was easy to do with a WiFi enabled PS3.

The 5-star rating applies mainly to the film itself rather than its technical features. You've got to hand it to Clint Eastwood, whose last acting role this apparently was. This is his 66th film as an actor, and his 34th (but not last) as a director. Yet he's 79 years of age, which is awesome considering he's more than doing the numbers - no, this is a fine piece of acting by any standard and he is as magnetic to watch as ever. In this quirky but realistic story he plays Walt Kowalski, a grumpy, humourless, bigoted Polish American, recently widowed and still haunted by memories of the Korean War more than half a century earlier. He worked at Ford in Detroit most of his working life, and probably his proudest possession is his 1972 Ford Torino. When the film first came out about a year ago I had the impression that he was a racist, but that isn't accurate; he doesn't really like anybody, not even his own sons and grandchildren, and just wants to be left alone in peace, with his labrador as his only welcome companion. His next-door neighbours are of Hmong descent, a culture from a mixture of the Asian countries of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. One of them, a young man called Thao, is bullied by a mainly Hispanic gang into stealing the Torino, which is when an unlikely relationship between Kowalski and Thao begins.

This is a character-driven contemporary drama from start to finish, deliberately old-school in keeping with the personality of Kowalski himself, and while it is chock-full of expletives it is nevertheless frequently very funny as well, with most of the laughs coming from Eastwood's ironic, dead-pan expressions or grumbles, even if he doesn't look as if he feels like laughing himself. It has almost nothing to do with racism at all, instead it is a mildly uplifting tale of a man acting as mentor and father-figure to a youngster in danger of taking the wrong path in life. Eastwood occasionally displays some Dirty Harry-esque moments with his growly threats to get off of his lawn, whether this is a deliberate parody of himself isn't clear but it's also one of the few examples of him slipping out of the unique character that is Walt Kowalski, a role he fills to near perfection throughout. As he has done countless times throughout his career, Eastwood carries this film (despite a very good supporting cast) and in spite of his advancing years he's still very much the powerful leading man he has always been. Very few actors have equalled him for consistency and strength over such a long period - he's been at the top for well over 50 years - and I wonder if anyone will match him in the future.

In summary, an amusing but serious story, entertaining and thought-provoking, and a fitting closure to a magnificent acting career.
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on 10 January 2010
Funny and heartbreaking, this movie delivers. I had no idea what to expect from Gran Torino, having somehow missed all the promotional material and I'm glad I did. It meant that I could watch the progression of the relationships & plot with a nervous expectation. For this reason I won't give too much away, in case you are lucky enough to be in the same position I was but expect to laugh, to be happy, to be angry and to cry. Clint Eastwood deserves his reputation as a master, both in front of the camera and behind it. He paints pictures of people and social issues beautifully. I hope you find it as engaging as I did.
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on 15 October 2013
Clint always fails to amaze me, I cannot recall ever hearing of this film, but then I am not a cinema goer, I bought it because of a good review on Amazon and was bowled over by the story, everything about the film was believable, all the acting was effortless and moody, I won't give anything away by telling the ending but a superb twist, where does this man Eastwood find such fantastic stories to tell??? I wish her would be around producing and directing for the next 40 odd years
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on 9 April 2010
I found Gran Torino a gripping film, the story is wonderfully put together and the casts performances are quite amazing. I am not a die hard eastwood fan but this could convert me his performance and the film itself are quite wonderful. The film has a simple and clear plot the only twist coming right at the end of the film as Eastwood confronts his demons and trys to give his new found freinds a better chance in life. I really enjoyed this an it's well worth a watch.
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on 20 March 2010
Having believed flims released in the past 5 years possessed a depth of dialogue and script quality that bearly ebbs past feeble, I was pleasently blown away to find that Gran Torino destroyed this suggestion.

This film is Clint Eastwood at this best, a real gem of a movie. There is even a Dirty Harry scene where he has a bad guy looking down the barrel of a gun (brilliant nod to the 70's classic). It may seem a little slow in places, but this is what real films are supposed to be about, they aren't supposed to be 'non-stop' action and guns/guts fests. A film is supposed to keep you on that line between thinking/not thinking, and continually sway backwards and forwards accross this divide.

This is a great film that will probably be one of Eastwood's last as both Director and Lead Actor. If this proves true, he has really raised the bar for those in Hollywood just starting out in the Director's seat.
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on 10 August 2009
Contrary to what some others have said, I think this is one of Eastwoods best films, certainly of recent years, arguably up there on a par with "Unforgiven". To give you an idea of how fickle my tastes are I should mention that I am not one of those who enjoyed "Million Dollar Baby", which I found to be emotionally manipulative and predictable. I can assure everyone that this is not true of "Gran Torino", which was both gripping and surprising right to the end. My response at the end of the movie was to say "wow..." and want to watch it again right away with the directors commentary enabled: unfortunately there was no such feature on the DVD.

Please ignore the people giving this film bad reviews because it isn't the Dirty Harry rehash they wanted: Eastwood hasn't made those movies in many years, and in any case people who like their movies rehashed would I'm sure be much happier watching "Alien vs Predator" or something along those lines.
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on 28 June 2009
Is this the final film for Clint Eastwood to star in? I don't know but if it is, it's a excellent swansong for him as this movie is brilliant from the first few minutes to the final breathtaking seconds. Eastwood plays Walt, a man who's lost his wife and is now a bit of a grumpy man. His grandsons hardly want to know him, their own family are evil and only want things when he's dead too. When a family of Hauong people arrive, he sickened by the thought of living with strangers. But when one of them tries to steal his Gran Torino, he soon bonds with the family and becomes a part to them though there is danger from nasty gangs wanting the young boy to be in their group. It's gripping stuff with some laugh-out loud moments along with touching scenes from the cast lead by Eastwood, this is his best pefomance ever without doubt. I highly recommend this to anyone who loved his movies or wanting to see a great movie for near two hours.
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VINE VOICEon 20 August 2010
This is an excellent movie that I believe appeals to just about anyone.

Clint lovers - This is a must - Great acting AND directing! Car enthusiasts - The Gran Torino in the title looks fantastic and is a real slice of american automotive history (as is Clint or Walt's everyday transport an old beaten up Ford Truck).

It also is a good summary of anywhere that is trying to come to terms with old and new, existing and different, cultural issues, old versus young - You name it it's there!

Walt's attempt to educate one of the people in the movie is hilarious.

In short this film should appeal to anyone who pure and simply likes a good movie!

Higly recommended.
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`Gran Torino' is quite simply one of the best films I have seen in quite some time. Directed by, produced by and starring Clint Eastwood, this film has a feeling of gravitas and meaning from the word go. This follows Walt Kowalski, who is a Korean war veteran, and how has he seen the neighbourhood around him change over the years and how he has seen a rise in violence and intimidation. It also looks at how he faces his own prejudices about his Hmong neighbours and strikes a relationship with the family next door. It is touching to see Walt develop from the archetype grumpy old man, to seeing someone with a softer side and with a great deal of compassion for those who are in a worse situation than himself. Clint plays Walt gruff and old school from the outset and you often laugh at his up front honesty, especially when confronted with a do-good catholic priest, but he isn't a one trick pony and manages to show his considerable acting (and directing) skills throughout. This may be Clint's swansong film, but considering the calibre of films he is making at the moment it would be a great shame if that was so. This has a powerful ending that will resonate long after the credits have rolled and will have you coming back to it in your mind at odd times in the days after you watch the film. This may be a scathing indictment of modern life in some cities, but it also has a well written storyline with impact and power. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.

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