Friday night, El Jefe and SWMBO went and saw Clint Eastwood's new film Gran Torino. This is a great film, but viewers looking for Dirty Harry Callahan will possibly be disappointed.
In Gran Torino, Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, a recently widowed, irascible Korean War veteran, still hanging on in a neighborhood of Detroit post-World War II houses being rapidly taken over by Hmong immigrants from Laos and Vietnam. Walt is unhappy about his new "slope," and "zipperhead" neighbors; can’t relate to his forty-something children; and resents the efforts of his children and his deceased wife’s very young Catholic priest (Father Janovich) to “look after” him in the manner they think appropriate. Besides his dog, his barber and some old cronies at the neighborhood bar, the only thing Walt (an ex-auto worker) really seems to care about is his green 1972 Gran Torino.
Walt unwillingly meets his Hmong neighbors when their teenage son Thao falls in with bad companions. The local gangsters find out that Walt and his ever-present Colt M1911 .45 pistol are not to be trifled with. Walt winds up befriending Thao and his family, and tries to keep Thao out of gang trouble, while dodging the efforts of Father Janovich to make Walt confess his sins and get right with God. Meanwhile Walt’s kids occasionally visit from another planet, making Walt realize he’s got more in common with some of his “different” Hmong neighbors than he thought.
The gang bangers aren't going to put up with Thao walking the straight and narrow. Walt isn’t going to express repentance for living his life as he thought necessary. Finally, Walt isn’t going to refrain from doing what’s necessary either. . .
See this movie! It’s not Dirty Harry; it’s more of an epistle on doing what you have to in life without regretting it, accepting where the cards come down, and standing up for yourself and for your friends. I’m good for the video when it comes out, and I’d go see it again.