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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRAN TORINO - GRAN PRIX!
I had seen the trailer for this movie and couldn't wait to see it - albeit in DVD form. If this is to be Clint Eastwood's swansong as an actor ( and I doubt it) then he has gone out in a truly memorable and excellent film.
It is a film that doesn't pull its punches, dealing with issues of disfunctional families, the generation gap, cultural differences and race, gang...
Published on 18 Aug 2009 by Mike Heath

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3.0 out of 5 stars Gran Torino
I was expecting a lot more from this movie as it got good reviews and had Clint Eastwood in it. Unfortunately the action was not fast-paced and the storyline fairly simple. Disappointing.
Published 14 months ago by Mr L J Grieve


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRAN TORINO - GRAN PRIX!, 18 Aug 2009
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This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I had seen the trailer for this movie and couldn't wait to see it - albeit in DVD form. If this is to be Clint Eastwood's swansong as an actor ( and I doubt it) then he has gone out in a truly memorable and excellent film.
It is a film that doesn't pull its punches, dealing with issues of disfunctional families, the generation gap, cultural differences and race, gang warfare and bullying. It has one or two harrowing moments but is generally a happy film punctuated with a lot of humour. Unlike a lot of American film and TV, this film does not preach nor patronise. You are left to form your own opinions.
The acting is excellent throughout the cast. Clint, of course, is his usual laconic self - his acting wonderfully paced. The two young Asian "leads" are excellent, too, putting in natural and effecting performances. The minor characters are all wonderfully played. The pace of the film (slow at first) allows character to develop. The young priest and the barber are two examples of this.
I ought to mention the dog too. A sensitive and underplayed performance here as well!
This film will leave you with much to mull over after viewing. It is a modern masterpiece with so much to commend it even after several viewings.
Excellent is hardly a sufficient epithet.
Mike, Stoupa, Greece
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133 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At least one guy in hollywood is making real movies, 13 May 2009
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
What can I say? If I try to describe this film to someone it sounds terrifically dull - but it's wonderful.
Okay, I'm an old softie: I loved "Bridges of Madison" and "Million Dollar Baby" and this is of the same high quality.
Clint takes the time to develop the characters. Why don't other film-makers bother to do that? The film is great because you actually care about the characters - even the ones who hardly speak. They feel fully fleshed out and have real personalities. At times the performances are so spontaneous that they feel improvised.
It doesn't really matter what this film's name is or what the plot is about. This is a "people" film about real life (not mine thankfully) and just when you start to think it might be turning into Dirty Harry, it turns into something else - something which everything about the Clint Eastwood character has been setting up throughout the film.
Five stars. Thank you Mr. Eastwood.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Finale, 21 Oct 2009
By 
OEJ & SKY - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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185 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not about the car..., 28 Dec 2008
By 
L. Power "nlp trainer" (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Throughout his illustrious acting career, Clint Eastwood has delivered a series of iconic characters, such as The Man with no name, Dirty Harry, Josie Wales, and Will Munny in Unforgiven.

Throughout his illustrious directing career he has delivered outstanding movies such as Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby, for which he has won five Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, and including the Irving Thalberg Life Achievement Award.

The actors who have worked with him have been blessed with Oscar: Gene Hackman for Unforgiven, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn for Mystic River, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby.

In Gran Torino he both directs and acts, and delivers an acting performance that will be remembered long after the final credits roll, in its unique way, as memorable as any other character he has created.

Gran Torino is the second best movie I have seen this year. Not just for the acting, not just for the directing, but for the storytelling, and the emotional journey on which it takes you, the laughter, the feeling of being gripped, and its more surprising moments.

In the opening scenes, we have the exposition of the character. We get to know Walt Kowalski, by how people act around him, and his seemingly hateful attitude towards people. More is conveyed through a scowl, and a snarl than with words. When the mischievous grandchildren go through his stuff in the basement, we see the photographs and the Silver Star he won in Korea. There are three other important symbols in the movie, the lighter, the gun, and the car.

We see a hero with a warrior past, a patriot who fought for a cause greater than himself. Clearly, his bigotry stems from those experiences.

He's not just mean, he's 'get of my lawn' mean. He's Dirty Harry 'Go ahead punk, make my day!,' mean.

His dead wife's priest bugs him to hear his confession, at her request. The priest in a way is his wife's conscience. So begins the theme of redemption.

When he snarls down the barrel of his rifle, at the neighborhood punk: 'I could blow your head off, and sleep like a baby,' you get the sense that he means it.

So, with all that happens, we see the change in his decision making, from someone reluctant to be involved in his neighbor's affairs, and a story can turn on something as random as looking at an empty beer cooler.

For all his faults, Walt has mature masculine character. Even though he is a difficult father, he has taught his children character. So, when he sees the boy next door lacks character, and a strong male role model, he takes him under his wing, and teaches him how to be a man.

The scenes where the boy practises Walt's high octane ball busting banter, are the funniest in the movie. Through knowing Walt, he makes decisions he never would have made by himself. In so doing, Walt finds meaning and purpose, and a chance for redemption, and the boy becomes a man.

The Academy's actor awards tend to go to actors in two types of role:

1. Psychopath- No Country for Old Men, The Usual Suspects, There Will Be Blood, Training Day, Silence of the Lambs.

2. Mentally Disabled, Social or Physical Handicap, overcomes great adversity or discrimination- Shine, As Good as It Gets, A Beautiful Mind, Ray, Scent of a Woman, Capote, Philadelphia, The Pianist, A Beautiful Life.

Every rule has an exception. Russell Crowe in Gladiator played a character with thematic similarities to Walt.

For a 78 year old man to direct and be lead actor in a movie of this caliber is an achievement worthy at the very least of being nominated for the highest award for Acting, Directing or both.

I hope this was helpful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Foot In The (American) Grave, 14 April 2010
By 
Fred P (Leigh-on-Sea, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Clint Eastwood in his (probably) last and growliest role as a Polish-American version of Victor Meldrew. Savour his under-the-breath cussing of his hmong neighbours, japanese-car-owning sons, and bare-midriff-sporting neice. All good stuff, and justifiable in his eyes. A poignant parable set in present-day Michigan, but could as well be anywhere in the USA where older white residents are dying off and making way for immigrants of all persuasions, and the subsequent deteriation of neighbourhoods. But it is not all bad news. Kowalski's new neighbours are more family-orientated and honourable than most, but it takes time for him to realise this. Good character-acting and interesting sub-plots make this a good film to watch. Oh, and the Ford Gran Torino is beautiful too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eastwood fans won't be disappointed., 24 Dec 2009
By 
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
It's truly amazing how Clint Eastwood can play the hardman hero at his age and still do it so well. Maybe that's what we've come to expect of him; any other 78 year old and you'd think it was rediculous.

In Grand Torino, he plays the part of an unlikeable man set in his ways who has just been widowed. The highlight of his life seems to have been the time he spent in the Korean War, followed by working in a Ford factory manufacturing cars. The movie revolves around his relationship with his Korean neighbours who he finds he has more in common with than his own family and who he protects against the local gang.

This movie has a number of underlying themes that give depth to the story instead of the straightforward good-guy, bad-guy melodrama. Much of it perhaps reflects Eastwood's own views on life as he gets older. For example, a theme that the older generation in the Western world have old fashioned values that the young no longer possess, but are still present in Eastern societies. The Gran Torino car that he shines up and parks in his driveway is his pride and joy, vintage and classic just like him; a reminder of times when people had more respect for their fellow man.

As a director, Eastwood gives depth to the characters allowing the audience to establish a connection with them. There is violence, sadness and a few laughs as the movie takes you to its inevitable conclusion, but not in quite the way that you expect. All in all, great entertainment by a master.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, 31 Aug 2009
By 
S. Hostick "sophiekingo" (East Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
An elderly man (Walt Kowalski), having just lost his wife, unintentionally finds friendship with his Hmong neighbours when he inadvertently saves the teenage boy nextdoor from an altercation with his cousin's gang. Walt then finds himself stepping in on a few occasions where either the boy or his sister get into bother.

This is a brilliant story about a man who finds he has more in common with the immigrant family around him than his own family and feels compelled to help them.

By far the best film I've seen in a long time and definitely recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The modern Shootist perhaps, 19 Nov 2009
By 
Paul S. Hyett (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I watched the DVD recently and I could not help but see similarities with John Wayne's movie The Shootist. The Shootist [DVD] [1976]
They are both an old breed of man that is fast disappearing as society "modernises";
Books' landlady is angry at him/Kowaski's neighbour's mother is angry at him;
Books has suit dry-cleaned/Kowaski buys made-to-measure suit;
They both have a haircut and shave; it's their birthday;
Books' horse/saddle/Kowaski's car;
They both can shot to kill but it's not always the answer;
They both help a boy become a man;
Book's old flame wants to make money out of him/Kowaski's family try to do the same;
They are both terminally ill, which they use to come to a decision;
And there's the grand finale where they both "take out" the local low-lifes.

John Wayne was terminally ill when he made The Shootist.
I sincerely hope that this is not the case with Clint Eastwood; that he is very well and enjoying making good movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie, 10 Aug 2009
By 
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An instant classic, 9 Dec 2009
By 
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
When I saw Gran Torino in the cinema, I found myself gloriously amused in one second - and howling like a lap dog in the next. In a nutshell: I wished the film would never have ended. So I was curious if I would still benefit by watching it a second time - if it might actually be called an instant classic. And my answer: I did. And it might.

Eastwood sticks to his style by addressing the central topics of life in his very own (we nearly called it Clintonesque) way. As was the case for Million Dollar Baby - and perhaps any great film - our fascination is not caused by the topic's irresistibility (or have we recently missed a drama starring an intractable pensioner with xenophobic - not to say misanthropic - tendencies?), but by the breath-takingly outlined characters and their interaction. Nevertheless, we need to take a short look at the plot: Walt's life is in shambles. His wife left him via a coffin, his children want no part of him (except for his car and house), and his neighborhood has been overrun by immigrant clans a long time ago. Thus he's got nothing left but his dog; and his Gran Torino, this battleship of a Ford he helped to build decades ago as an assembly-line worker.

This is the starting situation for a 116-minute-long emotional roller coaster ride through strange and even stranger cultures. By the film's virtuously proportioned intensity and dialogues with snarky humor we are not only invited, but are intrigued to participate in Walt's second life. Quite unintentionally, he changes the lives of an inexperienced clergyman, a neighboring family and finally - his own.
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Gran Torino [UMD Mini for PSP]
Gran Torino [UMD Mini for PSP] (UMD Mini for PSP - 2010)
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