I haven’t seen enough Clint Eastwood movies yet to consider myself a huge fan, but Gran Torino certainly makes me want to see more of them.

I had an idea what to expect from Gran Torino.  I knew that Clint Eastwood was going to play a gritty, tough as nails character who wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty.  I knew something of the plot – a neighborhood dynamic changed with the influx of immigrants, gangs starting to take root, and a moderately racist old-timer learning to deal with it.

I was almost blown away with how good it was, with my moderately high expectations keeping this film from totally shocking me with how really good it was.

Yes, the characters are well written.  Yes, the directing is really good.  The acting wasn’t top notch, but I don’t have any complaints about it – especially after watching the special features where we find out that most of the actors involved – primarily the authentically “HMONG” actors and actresses – had very little (if any) experience on film.

The only bad thing I have to say about this movie is that it seemed rushed in the way it was edited, sometimes to the point where it seemed to really lack establishing shots.  Throw a half-dozen of them in along the way and there wouldn’t be anything to complain about.

If you can’t get past racist dialogue, then this movie probably isn’t for you.  If you can tell yourself that the way Clint Eastwood’s character talks represents a past generation and that it establishes his perspective and acts as an element to show how the character changes along the way, you’ll really like this movie.

Heck, it’ll probably make you want to get some HMONG food.

This movie will definitely show up in my end-of-year awards, not only for best picture, but also for best actor and possibly best actress.  Very glad I saw this movie.


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