Thursday, February 5, 2009

“Get Off My Lawn” – A Gran Torino Movie Review

Get off my lawn,” is a greeting you might get upon stepping on the backyard of iron-willed Mr. Walt Kowalski, played by Clint Eastwood in the drama film “Gran Torino.” Or at least get a spit to the ground before you leave.

The movie starts off with Kowalski mourning on the loss of his wife. Another death he has to face in addition to those he experienced as a war veteran in Korea. Those encounters have taught him many things about life and death, as many as the wrinkled lines on his forehead.

His past continues to haunt him until the present which explains his Scrooge-like character who prefers to be alone and isolated from the immigrant townsfolk whose “women go to college and men go to prison”. He is left to himself with his dog Daisy, an M-1 rifle, and his 1972 Gran Torino.

Heaven knows how you come across somebody once in a while you should’ve messed with.” That’s him.

The story further developed based on his relationship with the ‘Hmung’ neighbors and new found acquaintances in the characters of Thao and Sue. Although cultural differences were a hindrance at first, Kowalski didn’t have much of a choice being a lone wolf and widower in his humble abode, just like his garage-parked Gran Torino.

Sue proved to be one tough teenager who is able to stand for her own. In contrast, her younger brother Thao was a timid-looking kid without aim in life - typical of a young man.

An incident involving his Gran Torino brought about by Thao’s issues with a local gangster brought them closer together. And not for long, Walt found himself as a father to Thao, a father-child relationship he was never able to share with his own two sons.

The movie climaxed defending this relationship amidst vengeance, confusion, and anger.

It is about an individual caught in his hounding past, and how he was able to rise above it to regain the peace he needed for his soul.

Clint Eastwood portrayed an outstanding role in Gran Torino as someone “who knows how it is to kill a man.” The character seemed to have been tailored for him too. This was however downplayed by the mediocre acting performance of Thao, played by Bee Vang. There were a few awkward scenes brought about by his unnatural acting amidst Eastwood’s strong delivery. This sidestep is however overshadowed by the movie’s flow of story, twists, and another interesting character interpreted by Ahney Her as Sue (who strikingly looks like a former local Philippine teen actress named Sandara Park). Other film stars include Christopher Carley, John Carroll and Brian Haley.

The drama “Gran Torino” marks Clint Eastwood’s first film role since his 2004 Oscar-winning film “Million Dollar Baby.” Presented by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures from a screenplay by Nick Schenk and story by the same and Dave Johansson.

Gran Torino * will be shown in your favorite cinemas February 18, 2009.

* The images in this article were used with permission and are for advertising and review purposes only. Copyright held by Warner Bros. Copyright laws apply.

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