Gran Torino tries a little too hard at the beginning to make Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) an Archie Bunker style racist, hardass curmudgeon. Once this urban drama gives up that pretense, this Blu-ray is an excellent film featuring one of Eastwood’s best performances. If you like a movie that believes in an intelligent audience, doesn’t wrap itself in artifice, and features believable characters Gran Torino is sure to please.
Walt Kowalski is a retired auto worker who has just lost his wife. He is pretty much estranged from his children and has very little time for anyone, including the local priest who helped his wife in her last days. He lives in a run down neighborhood and just wants to be left alone to drink his beer, polish his 1972 cherry condition Gran Torino, and say as many racial epithets as he wants. He is also carrying a heavy burden that is sometimes hinted at.
Kowalksi, at first very reluctantly, gets involved with the Hmong family next door and this changes him. Ahney Her is excellent as Sue, the young woman who becomes an in for Walt. He becomes a mentor for Sue’s brother “Toad”. The lesson in “talking like a man” is priceless. His involvement with the family eventually grows to be much more.
Gran Torino is a very good movie even if it sometimes goes for the easy shortcut such as when Walt’s kids come over on his birthday with senior living resort pamphlets. You already know Walt and his kids do not get along, the kids have told this to the audience early on in this drama.
This supposedly last appearance by Clint Eastwood the actor is the kind of movie you are glad to have seen. Gran Torino Blu-ray is not perfect but it is a cut above.
The Gran Torino Blu-ray Disc contains the following special features:
“The Eastwood Way” (RT 19:14) – explore the entirety of the film from the dual perspective of the actor and the director.
“Manning the Wheel” (RT 9:21) – a look at the American car culture and what it represents to the character Walt and to generations of men (also on the DVD).
“Gran Torino: More Than a Car” (RT 3:55) - Visit Detroit and the Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual parade of vintage cars held at the major cruise center in Detroit during the 50's and 60's. (also on the DVD).
BD Live: Jamie Cullum music video performance of original song “Gran Torino” written by Clint Eastwood.