VOD film review: Gran Torino
James R | On 14, Feb 2016
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley
Watch Gran Torino online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
“Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have fucked with? That’s me.”
Meet Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), the grumpiest war veteran you’ll ever come across. “Get off my lawn,” he snarls, wide-eyed and nasty, at the local youths. The trouble is they’re all, as he sees it, not Americans – and he hates them all. He lumps the neighbouring Hmong family in with the Koreans he once fought in the war. Forget Dirty Harry: this is Clint in one of his final performances and he’s dialling up the nasty, racist character traits.
As Walt patrols the streets in his beaten up Ford pickup – aN American car bought “right off the line” – it’s only a matter of time before he threatens another person of colour. You can practically count the seconds until he draws his gun again. Pretty soon, he draws it on Thao (Bee Vang), the bookish boy next door. That leads to getting to know his sister, Sue (Ahney Her), too. What ensues is a life-affirming friendship that shows Walt what the world is really like.
A clichéd creation, Gran Torino suffers from that familiar formula of white redemption and occasionally fudged acting. Nick Schenk’s screenplay is derivative, with its philosophical clashes between Walt and the baby-faced Father Janovich (Carley). But Clint, eyes squinting, temper ablaze, is wonderful to watch, even as he mellows. It’s hard not to be moved, as he growls the theme tune over the end credits. The result is far from the director’s best, but it’s a treat to see the actor in front of the camera once more. The good news? He’s not through with cinema yet.
Gran Torino is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.