If you liked Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry”….
you’ll love him as Walt Kowalski.
Eastwood may be 78 years old, but in “Gran Torino,” my last screening before the Santa Barbara Film Festival kicks off on January 22nd, he’s every bit as menacing when he says, “Get off my lawn,” as he was years ago when he said, “Make my day.”
He plays a retired auto worker and Korean war vet, who’s enraged by the changing ethnicity of his Detroit neighborhood. An equal opportunity bigot, he rages at everyone but especially at the Hmong immigrants who live next door.
I admit I’m a fan of nearly every movie Eastwood has directed and/or starred in – “Mystic River,” “Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby,” to name a few – but “Gran Torino” took me completely by surprise. How it manages to be both very funny and extremely poignant is a miracle. I laughed out loud so many times, even as I shed some tears at the end. No special effects. No car chases. Just a simply told tale of a man trying to adjust to life in post-war America. I’m putting “Gran Torino” near the top of my list for 2008.
But don’t take my word for it. Go see the movie when it opens nationwide on January 9th.
Here’s the trailer.