Six points about
So in continuation of our Clint Eastwood directed movies, the next movie on the list is Gran Torino. We decided to skip Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers because I said so. Gran Torino is quite a divisive movie, but the majority do fall in the category of yeah this movie is brilliant. It is in IMDb’s top 250 movies after all. Where do I stand on Gran Torino you ask? Well I can see where both sides are coming from, so read on to see some of my in-depth thoughts about Gran Torino.
1. Clint Eastwood was the star.
Eastwood stars in and directs Gran Torino, and to be perfectly honest, he is evidently leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the cast. He plays the stereotypical, stubborn, patriotic and down-right grumpy Walt Kowalski, and he plays this character perfectly. He pushes the audience away from the start, not letting us see who this Walt Kowalski really is, but gradually lets us in as the movie progresses. We know see what this character is about. This acting style/technique from Eastwood was genius, and he was by far the best character and had the best performance in the whole damn movie.
2. The rest of the cast are very one-note and their characters have only one emotion.
The whole cast pales in comparison Eastwood. This would usually be fair enough, but some of these performances were bad. The priest in the movie (I forget the actors name) had one tone of voice and one pestering personality for the entire movie. The character of Sue and her actor had similar problems. The character of Thao and his actor did grow into the movie as it progressed but generally wasn’t a great performance. All the members of the gang in the movie were very animated and over the top, and this was all very disappointing to have to watch alongside an excellent Eastwood performance.
3. The concept and screenplay of the movie is very good.
The screenplay was quite solid, and I especially liked Eastwood’s interactions with his family. The dialogue was mostly pretty tight and good. The idea of this story is very clever, and while it isn’t without its clichés, it is still a compelling idea, and is told reasonably well. There is some good social commentary hidden throughout the movie, and deals with some major issues in a clever and sometimes humorous way. Examples of these issues are racism, crime, the gang world, coming of age etc. These are well done and come across well on-screen.
4. There is a major drop off in the second act.
The first act had me interested and invested in the movie, but the second act really slowed down. I was dazing away from the movie and became uninterested. In fairness the movie does pick up again in the third act, but by that point I was almost too far out of the movie. The storytelling quality goes down in the second act, and by this point I was getting quite bored of these one-note actors. Again, as I said, the third acts does pick up considerably, and the first act had me intrigued, but this was a very poor second act. The humour dried up and we were going into narrative with characters that I couldn’t give a monkeys ass about. This was one of the movies major flaws and really lets it down as a whole.
5. The humor works for the most part
There are some very funny moments in the movie. One of my favourites was when Eastwood is teaching Thao how to talk like a man. This was a very funny sequence of events and was a stand-out moment. There was other humorous moments also, and most of the time it worked. Eastwood delivered his lines very well and always hit a comedic moment at the right time. The only times that it didn’t really work was when one of the supporting characters tried to make a comedic comment. Otherwise, the comedy is pretty free-flowing and is effectively used.
6. Overall, Gran Torino is a compelling story let down by a horrible second act.
This is not a bad movie by any means. Eastwood does partly save a lot of the movie, but he couldn’t help but save the second act from obscurity. The movie had an interesting plot, and dealt with some major issues. The comedy was fine, and was different to some of Eastwood’s other work. Despite this, it stall had Eastwood’s typical flair to it, which can only be a positive. I might also add, that the ending is pretty damn epic. I would recommend this anybody who is an Eastwood fan, and despite my negatives, it is still a solid tale. I will give Gran Torino a 7.5/10.
Our Clint Eastwood series will continue with one more movie, before we culminate with Sully. Stay tuned for that and more!