Picking up months later on Kris's Gran Torino take, I settled down to watch Clint's latest project tonight, a little uncertain of what to expect. Eastwood has been playing around with his iconic persona since Unforgiven and Gran Torino seems like an extension of this exercise. I'm not sure I agree that this is Eastwood acting in top form. I think he was better in Million Dollar Baby but he presents a solid enough lead here to build a competent story around.
I found Gran Torino similar to Unforgiven in more than few ways. This is a film that closes out the Dirty Harry character in the same way that Unforgiven bookended his man-with-no-name western hero. A minor complaint might be that the film suffers by piling it on a bit thick during Walt's overcoming prejudice transformation, but all in all it was a pretty entertaining film. One part buddy picture, one part redemption flick and one part vigilante film, Eastwood manages to pull together the right bits of each.
I thought it interesting that the final scene was fashioned after a particularly classic Dirty Harry moment. I half expected Eastwood to growl, “Do you feel lucky punk? Well do ya?” What really happens is very well constructed and not just a little surprising. Not bad for somebody who turned 79 last week.