Gran Torino: Directed and Produced by Clint Eastwood
Gran Torino directed and produced by Clint Eastwood is an inspirational and moving piece about overcoming prejudice in one's community as others with different ethnic backgrounds move into the neighborhood. Clint Eastwood, the cast, and crew did a marvelous job creating this dramatic masterpiece.
This movie has a tender story where a mid-western Korean War Veteran, Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), finds himself a widower, estranged from his family and is very bitter about life. He is grumpily insensitive to those around him. Father Jamovitch (Christopher Garley) because of a promise he made to Walt's wife, keeps trying to be there for Walt Kowalski who wants to be left completely alone with his yellow Labrador, Daisy.
The beginning of the film has Walt being insular, insulting and extremely rude to his neighbors; outwardly shows his prejudiced toward Asian people. Gran Torino continues with street-gangs trying to take over his neighborhood; making it unsafe for all to walk down the streets. Walt Kowalski grudgingly rescues his neighbor's daughter, Sue (Ahney Her) from the African American street-gang and makes certain Sue makes it safely home. This breaks the ice between Walt and his Hmong next door neighbors, changes their opinion of him and makes Walt the neighborhood's hero.
Walt unused to being given gifts for good deeds and invited to Hmong family gatherings finds himself in an uncomfortable situation, that is until Walt realizes he has more in common with his neighbors than he does with his two sons (Brian Haley as Mitch, and Brian Howe as Steve) and granddaughter, Ashley (Dreama Walker). When Sue and her mother (Brooke Chia Thao) find out Thao (Bee Vang), Sue's brother, tried to steal Walt's 1972 classic car, a Gran Torino, they insist Thao work for Walt; do labor for Walt Kowalski to make amends. Very hesitantly, Walt agrees to this arrangement.
Walt sort of allows Thao to work for him. He has Thao doing yard-work for other neighbors as an effort to clean up the neighborhood. Walt Kowalski ends up teaching Thao about tools and their uses. Walt finds himself a reluctant, but good role model and friend to Thao. He makes it clear to Thao that "real men" do not join street-gangs. Walt helps Thao get his first "real man" job in construction.
Walt Kowalski continues to stand up against the neighborhood thugs. This cements him as being the neighborhood hero. He is beloved by all, especially when Walt makes certain the Hmong street-gang becomes arrested thereby saving Thao from their negative influence.
Other primary cast members included: Dua Moua (Spider, head of Hmong street-gang and Thao' cousin), Geraldine Hughes (Karen Kowalski, Walt's daughter-in-law and Mitch's wife), John Carroll Lynch (Walt's barber and friend, Martin), Chee Thao (Thao and Sue's grandmother who lives with them), William Hill (Tim Kennedy, Walt's construction friend who gives Thao his first job), and Choua Kue (Youa, the girl Thao likes and friend of Sue's).
Gran Torino was released in 2008 and is on DVD. This film is 1 hour 56 minutes in length. It is rated R, primarily for adult language and subject matter. Recommend viewing as a "must see", especially if you are a Clint Eastwood movie fan!