Viewed – 03 March 2009 Cinema
Isn’t it great when you go into a film expecting something in particular, only to discover its something else entirely? That was the case with this come-back vehicle for screen legend Clint Eastwood after a wilderness period directing rather than starring. Clint plays an elderly war veteran who has just lost his wife, is somewhat estranged from his two sons (despite their best intentions) and lives in a street where most of the neighbours are foreign. All he seems to care about is his faithful dog Daisy and his classic 70’s Gran Torino muscle car.
Playing a mean, suspicious and generally unpleasant old guy would perhaps come as not great viewing if it was another actor, but in Clint’s hands its charming, funny and extremely engrossing, as this set-in-his-ways man befriends a Chinese family after some trouble with a local gang of hoodlums, and discovers a new lease of life through a young boy who he see’s great potential in.
This is a gentle and emotional tale is held together by some great performances, a quality script and moments that pulled this viewer in and made him think about life and that ticking clock in all of us. If you have anyone who is elderly, be it a friend or relative this is guaranteed to tug at the heart strings, and with Clint still trying to be that tough unstoppable hero-with-an-edge honed so perfectly in Dirty Harry and the like, its also makes for great cinema. Additionally, the other cast members shine despite being newcomers (Clint chose real life kids from similar neighbourhoods to reflect authenticity, and it works).
One of the most memorable visits to the cinema I’ve had in a long while.
Verdict: 5 /5