Friday, June 26, 2009
WORTH-IT: (Clint Eastwood) It's hard to truly review a movie you saw while on a night-flight to Europe, because let's be honest, what wouldn't keep your interest when there is literally nothing else to do but watch the lucky ones sleep. But I think, think, that this movie would have been satisfying either way. First off, Clint Eastwood continually delivers fascinating plot and character development with his films and Gran Torino soundly acquiesces. We're faced with a new widower, Walt, living in a part of town recently overcome with Asian immigrants and violent gangs. A tough guy (duh, it's CE himself), he won't move away, won't make friends, and won't stop blaming the world for his unhappiness. Unfortunately, the world is out to prove its worth. The Lor family lives next door, a big family with several generations under one roof. Inevitably bonded by the intolerance of the gangs' violence, Walt and the Lors cross paths more than once, and more than Walt would like or welcomes. To us, the viewer, its clearly an act of gratitude and kinship on the Lors part, but to Walt, it's annoying, unnecessary and an infringement on his privacy and routine. But, ROUtines are made to be broken, and over the course of a two hour film, we see Walt's familiarity all switched up, a friendship between race ensue and an overall sense of morale and family succeed violence and hatred. At times it's painful to listen to Eastwood's raspy monotone (just talk normally, dude!), but I can't deny it shapes the movie's motif well. This plot summary is one of suspense and endearment, deliberate comedy and soft emotion. I can't spoil the resolution by going farther, but I can say that it's one for the books. Crossing lines in appropriate ways, this story reveals racism and prejudices in ways universally understandable. And, it does so with characters we've almost met before, seen before, and maybe empathize with. I wouldn't say this is a potential favorite movie, but simply a phenomenal story, well-told and accurately sensitized. If anything, it's a smack in the face for the extension of bad behavior. Expect violence, cursing and hate (hello it's about gangs and racism) but get through it and you'll witness a truly evocative telling of America's best and worst reputations.