Tuesday, 7 April 2009


I really sympathise with grumpy old men these days as I'm fast becoming one. I particularly felt empathy with Walk Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) and his reaction to his Vietnamese neighbours as I recently took a trip back to the area I grew up in and found it to be depressingly delapitated, dirty and unpleasant with barely an English voice to be heard. Yep, I found a lot of old Walt in me. It has been said that GRAN TORINO is Dirty Harry in retirement and to an extent this is true. But Eastwood takes his old screen persona and uses it to great effect. I'm not going to say much about the story as the film is best left to unfold without spoilers but I will say that the charges of bad acting that have been aimed at the younger members of the cast seem totally unfounded to me. Eastwood hams it a bit in some scenes but this is really because he is, as I have said, playing a bit on his past screen performances (and I'd happily adopt his growl when dealing with some of the feral dregs that roam the streets these days). The film isn't, to be honest, Clint's best work (although it gets close in places), veering as it does from the subtle to the cliche and the final scenes are pretty much telegraphed to any knowledgeable film fan. While I can applaud the film's message there is still a little bit of me that would have been quite happy to see Walt Kowalski taking out the trash in a more conventional way. Supposedly Eastwood's acting swansong. If it is then it's not a bad one. Rating ****

No comments: