Gran Torino is sort of what Rush Hour might have looked like if Brett Ratner had balls and comedic sensibility. Which is to say that it’s a culture-clash action-comedy that isn’t particularly realistic and paints with a pretty broad brush most of the time, but it’s also funny, cathartic, and above all, entertaining as hell. Who knew Clint Eastwood had such a gift for comedy? I can’t remember the last time I missed this many lines because I was laughing so hard.
Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, the ultimate curmudgeon, a recently-widowed Korean War vet with a bunch of spoiled weiner kids and a house in a decaying suburb that’s long since been taken over by ethnic types, for whom Walt reserves at least four growls and three ethnic slurs. Eastwood is beyond over the top but it works, because there’s just something lovable about a straight-talking old man who thinks everyone in the world is a pussy, a foreigner, or some combination of the two. When Kowalski’s dead wife’s snot-nosed pasty ginger priest comes to take Walt’s confession (it was his wife’s dying wish), Walt calls him “an overeducated 27-year-old virgin who likes to hold the hands of superstitious old ladies and promise them everlasting life.”
Read the rest of this entry »