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Saturday, 28 February 2009

New Release - Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood is a bit of a legend. His mere presence in a film is usually enough to give film fans an indication that they are about to watch something special. Despite being 78, he is still an incredibly hard working man, directing and acting in a number of classic films over the past few years. Whilst Gran Torino is not one of his best films, it is still well worth a look, especially as it will be his last appearance on the big screen.

In Gran Torino Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, an intolerant Vietnam veteran who slowly discovers that he has more in common with his Hmong neighbours than his own family. As Walt is clearly a racist, it is the cathartic process by which he comes to terms with this that drives the story and raises it to a level above most revenge dramas. Eastwood's low growling voice and intense stares still have the same potency they possessed when he appeared in A Fistful of Dollars back in the early sixties, and it is this which enables Walt to take control of almost any violent situation he encounters.

There was no doubt that Eastwood's performance would stand out, he is the only household name in a film full of unkown actors who find it difficult to shine. This is a strange choice as some of Clint's finest films; Mystic river and Unforgiven to name a few, were successful due to the brilliant casting of stars such as Morgan Freeman, Sean Penn and Gene Hackman, which could be an indication that Gran Torino was Clint's final attempt to win an Oscar for best actor.

Gran Torino is a highly enjoyable movie, at times funny, often moving and worth watching for Clint's performance alone. The Curious Case of Benjamin button and Slumdog millionaire may have won all the Oscars but this is a far more accomplished film, and i was surprised at the Academy's decision to ignore it in favour of Eastwood's other recent movie Changeling.


If you liked this film, you will also enjoy these:

Dead Man's Shoes
Mystic River
A History Of Violence

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