Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

Flashback Friday-Gran Torino (2008)

Many of us remember the crotchety old man or woman who lived on our block when we were kids. By reputation, this man or woman was known for loudly voicing their displeasure when a child’s toy landed on their lawn or when one of the neighborhood teenagers cranked their music just a little too loud.

While this character for the most part remains a 2D caricature, the 2008 film Gran Torino explores this character with a new set of eyes. Walter Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a grizzled Korean War veteran whose pride and joy is a 1972 Gran Torino. Known for being the crotchety old man in the neighborhood, Walter not only does not get along with his neighbors, but he is also emotionally disconnected from his own family. When Walter catches Thao (Bee Vang), a teenager who is dared by his gang member cousin to steal Walter’s car, he decides to help the young man.

Walter’s mission starts out simply: to get Thao on the straight and narrow and away from the gangs. But the gangs are not going away without a fight and Walter finds himself pulled further and further into the fight.

I’m not a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, but this movie is very, very good. Though Eastwood is playing to type, he also steps away from the typecasting when he becomes the father figure to Thao and reveals  the heart underneath the shell.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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Throwback Thursday-Mystic River (2003)

Law and Order fans are used to crimes solved within the time span of an 1 hour television show. In real life, this process is not always so quick or painless.

In the 2003 movie, Mystic River, Dave (Tim Robbins), Sean (Kevin Bacon) and Jimmy (Sean Penn) have been friends since they were boys. In 1975, Dave is abducted and sexually abused by strangers. He escapes his attackers, but the scars of that experience are always just below the surface. Flashing forward to the present, Jimmy has a prison record and three children. When his daughter, Katie (Emmy Rossum) is found dead, and Sean, who now works the homicide beat accuses Dave of killing Katie.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is not so cut and dry when it comes to the narrative. There are questions to be answered. The problem is that the answers are murky, complicated and tied to unresolved issues from the past. But that is what I like about this film. It has enough drama and intensity to keep the audience’s attention without going over the top.

I recommend it.

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