Gran Torino: Movie Review

"Gran Torino" is a film that we have not heard of much. Only two weeks ago have we seen the trailer and even with the Oscar-season craze ongoing, "Gran Torino" is more of an unknown due to the fact that it was snubbed by the top-tier award-giving body in the U.S. (Please correct us if we are wrong on this one). What we could say though is that we expected something really slow and for most, boring. All Eastwood films seem to be that way (just being frank here); just think of "Million Dollar Baby". All of his films have an epic, serious feeling (but in no way make them ugly). But like the car of the film's namesake, it may not be the most beautiful car when first seen or heard but just take a second look and you will see its amazing features. We were utterly surprised on what was about to transpire right in front of our faces. Truly, something magical and something different occurred.

The film is all about Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood). His wife just died and now he is living alone in their old family house. He is still hunted by his wartime memories during the Korean War and seems to be in dismay as his whole community is now replaced by Asians. Walt is a very traditional American and seems to be having trouble communicating not only with his neighbors but also with his remaining family. On the other hand, a Hmong family resides as Walt's direct neighbors which consists of Thao, Sue, their mother and grandmother; their family is very traditional in Hmong ways as Walt is on American values. One day, Thao is being taken away/abused by his gang leader cousin when Walt inadvertently helps Thao. The Hmong neighbors are now very grateful to Walt and Walt on the other hand needs to face the fact that he has to commune with his friendly Asian neighbors that got to his nerves most of the time.

For the movie, all we could say is "W-O-W". First, what we really liked about the film was the quips and one-liners of Walt. You know those guys you see on comedy bars or even on the tube? That is how awesome and funny Clint Eastwood's lines are! Second, even if the basic structure of the plot was not original (A war vet who hates Asians and Asians who hate Americans), the writers found a way to make a very interesting story out of it. You have to really see how the film builds up until the end to know what we mean. The only negative thing we could see in this film is the somewhat amateurish acting and honestly, we are just nitpicking at this point. We could not understand if "Gran Torino" was being serious all this time and was just mistranslated when everyone laughed out loud on the cinema. But for us, may it be lost in translation or not, "Gran Torino" is one of the best films we have seen this year and makes us wonder why this was snubbed in the first place; better than Benjamin Button in our opinion!

Thanks to Sir Azrael and Warner Brothers Philippines for inviting us in the press screening of "Gran Torino". Catch the movie around the Metro starting February 18, 2009.

Rating: 5 reels

Why you should watch it:
- great plot, great story
- laugh out loud one-liners and quips that kept the film at a steady pace
- Clint Eastwood is just bad-ass!
- unpredictable and wonderful conclusion to the whole film

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- some of the acting was quite amateurish



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