Gran Torino is the latest fast paced, high concept techno-thriller from Clint Eastwood.
Except it isn’t, it’s another of his beautifully crafted, glacial treatise on the nature of violence and its long term affect on a person. It also happens to contain probably his best performance since Million Dollar Baby. It’s hard to think that this was originally thought of as a possible “Dirty Harry Retires” role; Callaghan would never accept redemption like this.
It’s interesting because it never really progresses along the lines you expect. Characters that initially appear to be one note grow over time in unexpected ways, helped as per usual by the easy going, unfussy direction. It does manipulate the emotions, but never in an easy way. One bit in particular is difficult for everything it doesn’t say rather than what it does.
Whether you’ll like it or not will pretty much depend on where you stand on Eastwood’s latter career. If you appreciate Unforgiven in its elegant tone then you’ll like (not enjoy, it’s a hard film to enjoy – even though it offers something approaching a positive ending) it. If instead you prefer to see Eastwood blowing away perp’s whilst delivering pithy one liners then it’s probably not going to be you cup of tea.