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Walt is in a bad mood, because the world is going to hell and his family is the worst part about it. His wife just died, but the kids unfortunately are still around and nag and want to inherit his Gran Torino 1972 and want to re-allocate him towards some Happy Senior Citizen Dying Shelter. And his neighbours….Koreans or Chinese or some very loud Asian breed, and their kid tries to steal his car, but even for that he is too stupid. When Walt – a bit by accident, but mainly because it fits his morale corset -helps the neighbours’ kids against some mean gang-bangers from the ‘hood, he gets kind of adopted by them, fed and socialised and over time accepts the role. Helping especially the neighbour boy Tao with getting a grip on life, girls, and swearing, he opens up and allows new friends (maybe the first since his barber buddy 20 years ago) to form something like a family with him. When the gangs escalate the battle, he takes sides and is forced to come up with a solution more clever than just shooting holes in other people.

Nobody knows Clint Eastwood better than Clint Eastwood, and all the clichés woven into this movie live that started so handsomely with a poncho and a cigarillo, and now he is still smoking, but while sitting on his porch, watching his lawn grass grow and having eight Budweiser. It is a travesty of all the serious bad-ass and bad-mood gunslingers, and he does even not shy away from making comic moves, such as the shooting of the bad guys with his fingers, as you would remember from copying Clint Eastwood movies when we were all little, to the snarling and grumbling like David Lynch’s “Angriest Dog in the World”. Grrr, get off my lawn!
Never was playing with the cliches of xenophobia, racism, old-age-phobia (I am sure there’s some fancy word for that out there in the IntraWeb, search it, grrr) and asshole families wit mortgage houses and annoying teenage daughters more… playful! But he’s serious, I believe. Showing the interaction between the barber and his customer, a thunderstorm of insults and political in-correctness, is refreshing, because it shows that even in the most ghastly and least liberal of all places, i.e. PC Planet Hollywood, one can still ignore or actively overthrow all these limits to speech and thinking and behaviour. Because by not allowing to speak out a cliché the cliché does not go away, it just grows inside. And apart from that morale: it’s just darn funny!
Eastwood / Walt comes up with the great master plan that serves everybody, teaches those who are still willing to learn valuable lessons, and makes sure that his car will be in mint condition for another 30 years. What else in life?
This is not a subtle film, but one of simple and clear values. Straightforward people’s cinema, and a good laugh. Don’t speak those words at home, ya gook!
Nice Independent Review

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