johnlink ranks GRAN TORINO (2008)

Halfway through this movie I found myself wondering if I should really be laughing at the racial epithets Clint Eastwood lobs frequently throughout the movie. I did wonder that if his neighbors were African-American, rather than Asian-American, that this film would have been controversial. Even so, I think he gets away with what he says in GRAN TORINO for two reasons…

The first, is that he treats everyone the same. The scene in the barber shop where he bandies around Italian curses and the scene in the construction office where he insults the Irish both show that he’s equal opportunity racist. Well, maybe that’s not quite correct. Because the second point is that the important thing, in this film, is what you do rather than what you say. Eastwood’s character is a man of morality, even if he is using words and tossing language that became improper decades ago. But he gives people a chance to be who they are.

The basic story of GRAN TORINO involves an old Korean war vet trying to help a young boy avoid a gang.

I watched GRAN TORINO (2008) in the theater on 1.13.09. It was my first viewing.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

Eastwood knows how to tell a story. He’s been doing it consistently well for years. I will see anything he directs, because I know it will make me think and I will leave wanting more. This film handles its subject matter carefully, despite how forceful it is. SCORE: 9

MOVIE

I didn’t realize how funny this would be. I should stop being surprised. If you can get laughs out of subject matter like MILLION DOLLAR BABY, then you can get laughs out of anything. This was an enjoyable ride which kept you glued all the way through. I do wish that they had set up more with the relationship before involving the gang, but that is splitting heirs. SCORE: 8

ACTING

I was reading some reviews saying that everyone beside Eastwood was sub-par. I disagree strongly. I think that the kids who played the siblings Thao and Sue (Bee Vang and Ahney Her) were exceptional. If anything, I thought some of the grunting and growling by Eastwood (while funny) was a bit over the top. Still thought he was great, but I wonder if another director would have toned a couple of those moments down just slightly. SCORE: 8

WRITING

Exceptional. Loved it. There was a moment in the end when Thao was looking in a trunk in Eastwood’s basement and I thought he was about to find something in there… and then something else happened. Moments like that occur throughout this film. The ending, without giving anything away, was perfectly toned. My one complaint is that the racial slurs did get so overused that, by three-quarters of the way through, they stopped having any meaning. Maybe that was the point, but I still disagree the choice. SCORE: 9

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 9;  MOVIE: 8;  ACTING: 8;  WRITING: 9

9+8+8+9+0 = 34

FINAL SCORE: 8.5

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~ by johnlink00 on January 13, 2009.

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