GRAN TORINO... Two days ago, I finally got around to seeing the much-acclaimed Clint Eastwood film. While it definitely didn’t deserve the Oscar nominations that some people thought it got robbed of (though Eastwood probably could’ve gotten a Best Actor nom), it was still an exceptional film. It was interesting to see Eastwood pretty much play a bigoted version of Dirty Harry ("swamprats", "zipperhead", "gook" and "nip"... Just a few of a couple of racist terms that Eastwood’s character constantly spouted out with hilarity. And yes, I’m Asian). The biggest highlight of the movie, for me, was the finale. Gran Torino has been out since last Christmas, so I guess I can talk about the ending now. The film could’ve concluded through one of two ways: 1.) Eastwood does go all-out as Dirty Harry and blasts away those Hmong gangmembers, or 2.) He dies of lung cancer. Fortunately, it was Number 3... A nice little twist where Eastwood ultimately sacrifices himself so an Asian family can live normally, despite the fact Eastwood’s character took the lives of many Asians when he served in the Korean War. Eastwood and screenwriters Nick Schenk and Dave Johannson definitely deserves kudos for finding a way to make Gran Torino end on an unpredictable and satisfying note.
In terms of negative critique, a big minus for the film was the acting by pretty much everyone else in Gran Torino...particularly the Asian cast. Unlike Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire, Bee Vang (who played Thao Vang Lor) doesn’t exactly deserve an award for his performance...especially for the scene where Eastwood locks him up inside his basement. Ahney Her (who played Thao’s sister, Sue) was also kinda flat in her performance. While it was an emotional scene when she walked into that front door bruised-up and bloodied, her line delivery in other parts of the movie could’ve been better. Other than this, Gran Torino was a fine film.
No wait— One more critique: What was up with Clint Eastwood singing at the beginning of the end credits?? Please...don’t be like Joaquin Phoenix and decide to become a music artist, Eastwood. Stick to acting. That’s all.