I admit that I'm prejudice...I love Clint Eastwood. I'm not the crazy type of fan who would
For the first time since moving to Texas I walked into a full theatre! This was on a work/school day at 11:45 in the morning. I live in a very diverse town, home of Fort Hood, the largest Army Post in the USA. The population is very evenly mixed between different ethnic groups including Asians, Blacks, Latinos and Caucasians. I preface this review this way because the movie has strong racial slurs throughout.
Walt is a veteran US Army First Cavalry.....which is evident throughout the whole movie, with the insignia visible on his war chest, and cigarette lighter. Fort Hood is the home to the US Army First Cavalry, and my SIL is a First Sgt deploying with the first Cav. for his third tour in a few weeks.
With his colorful language and bigotry, Eastwood seems to be channeling Archie Bunker in his depiction of Walt Kowalski, a Korean War vet and retired Ford factory worker in suburban Detroit whose grim outlook on life has suddenly become a lot greyer.
Walt has just buried his wife, the sole love of his life, leaving him with nothing but his modest home, his aging golden retriever Daisy and his green 1972 Gran Torino, a pristine auto he built himself but which rarely leaves his garage.
Stubborn and unsentimental, Walt is angered by his grasping sons and daughters-in-law, who want him to sell up and move into a retirement home. Walt is also vexed by the changing ethnicity of his neighborhood. Polish, Irish and Italian immigrants are being replaced by newcomers from the mountainous Hmong regions of southeast Asia, whom he refers to by every slur imaginable.
All Walt wants to do is sit on his porch, smoke his cigarettes and drink can after can of Pabst beer. But he keeps getting dragged into neighborhood drama when a gang of hoodlums starts bullying the youngest of his new next-door neighbors – shy youth Thao and his outspoken sister Sue.
Walt becomes an unlikely local hero when he confronts the gang, seemingly chasing them away with strongly uttered oaths and his trusty shotgun – plus that trigger-finger gesture which somehow manages to be much more threatening. But the deed ratchets up tensions, putting more stress on the neighbors and making Walt a target.
Comic and dramatic elements are evenly balanced as Walt begins to realize that the neighbors bring him more happiness than his own kin: "I have more in common with these gooks than with my own spoiled, rotten family."
Throughout this whole movie, the theatre erupted in laughter often....usually at some of the bantering. I appreciated the way Clint Eastwood could inject humor where other's would take offense. The movie was funny, sad, and educational on so many levels. I loved it.
I give this movie 4 out of 5 '72 Gran Torinos