Monday, January 19, 2009

Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino

Although it's being heralded as Eastwood's 'masterwork', Gran Torino is anything but in my humble opinion.

On the surface it's a reasonably well made piece, with a fine acting performance from Eastwood as a grumpy old man coming to terms with his new Chinese neighbours.

But on a deeper level it's a nasty piece of work. This grumpy old man turns out to be about as racist as any middle American white can get. We are asked, as the audience, to empathise with him, and there are heaps of funny lines about 'coons', 'chinks', 'slopes', etc that are meant to suck you in and side with the old man as he struggles to get his bearings in multicultural America.

And of course the guy is so into guns! Besides his vintage car, the Gran Torino - a Ford, by the way, not a 'fucking Asian truck' - guns are a central feature of this Korean war veteran's life. He carries them everywhere. The perfect American solution to every conceivable problem. Blow the thugs away, that'll solve it. He's the regular hero.

The growing relationship and affection between him and his neighbours is predictable fare in movies like this, as, after all, we old-style Americans with our hearts of gold will win them all over in the end.

Bush and Cheney would love this movie.

Gran Torino is pure American fantasy.

1 comment:

  1. The two Asian children were terrible actors. Really. It felt like year 12 drama presentations all over again. Painful.