Wal Kowalski is a bitter Korea-vet who’s retired from working at the Ford factories and spends his life drinking beer and doing some work in his house. Walt has just lost his wife and he has all but a good relationship with the rest of his family. Throughout the years he’s seen Asian immigrants move into his neighborhood and he doesn’t like it at all.
When one night he spots someone in his garage, he goes out with a shotgun and finds his neighbor’s son Thao being pushed by the local Hmong gang to steal his Gran Torino car. Walt stops the robbery and stands up against the gang, something that gives him respect amongst the Asians in the neighborhood. When little later he also rescues Thao’s sister he starts to become a local hero which makes his vision towards Thao and his family change slowly but steadily. Before he knows it, his life is about to change in ways he could never have expected…
Sound and Vision:
Gran Torino has received a terrific transfer. Due to the very natural look it isn’t demo material but there’s nothing to complain about on the technical level. Every wrinkle in Eastwood’s face is visible and the rather dark colors add very well to the overall atmosphere of the movie.
The soundtrack is very detailed with a light focus towards the front speakers but from behind you’ll constantly hear environment sounds and effects. Due to the nature of the movie you shouldn’t expect the surround speakers and subwoofer to be blowing you away but everything perfectly fits the story and adds to the mood.
– The Eastwood Way: feature where Eastwood talks about why he went back behind the camera and how he made the movie
– Manning The Wheel: feature on the history of cars and the obsession of men with it. A nice feature if you like cars
– Gran Torino: More Than A Car: a short feature on the importance of cars in our society
Furthermore we get a digital copy of the movie and some online features. Although it doesn’t sound much qua extras, it’s the quality that matters here and we certainly can’t complain about that.
It’s hard to compare Gran Torino with other movies but if we were to try, we would take Unforgiven. Just like in that movie, we see Eastwood playing an older man who’s become bitter and has to cope with changing circumstances in life. The atmosphere is also pretty much similar in some ways and it’s great to see Eastwood can still look terrifying.
Throughout the film the atmosphere is what matters most. The way Eastwood’s character changes the way he looks towards his neighbours is fascinating to see and eventhough we don’t see guns blazing all the time, a feeling of tension is almost constantly present, even better than in most big budget action movies these days.
Eastwood shows again that he’s a skilled director as well as actor and I can only conclude this is certainly a movie you have to check out.