GRAN TORINO (USA/Germany, 2008) ****
Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: Matten Productions / Double Nickel Entertainment / Gerber Pictures / Malpaso Productions / Media Magik Entertainment / Village Roadshow Pictures / WV Films IV / Warner Bros; Release Date: 9 December 2008 (USA), 17 February 2009 (UK); Filming Dates: 14 July 2008 – 16 August 2008; Running Time: 116m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS; Film Format: 35mm (Kodak Vision 2383), D-Cinema; Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Panavision (anamorphic) (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: Nick Schenk, Dave Johannson; Executive Producer: Bruce Berman, Jenette Kahn, Tim Moore, Adam Richman; Producer: Clint Eastwood, Bill Gerber, Robert Lorenz; Director of Photography: Tom Stern; Music Composer: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens; Film Editor: Joel Cox, Gary Roach; Casting Director: Ellen Chenoweth; Production Designer: Phill Zagajewski, James J. Murakami; Art Director: John Warnke, Shelagh Conley; Set Decorator: Gary Fettis; Costumes: Deborah Hopper; Make-up: Tania McComas; Sound: Alan Robert Murray; Special Effects: Steve Riley; Visual Effects: Mark Freund, Julian Levi, Darin McCormick-Millett, Kelly Port.
Cast: Clint Eastwood (Walt Kowalski), Christopher Carley (Father Janovich), Bee Vang (Thao), Ahney Her (Sue), Brian Haley (Mitch Kowalski), Geraldine Hughes (Karen Kowalski), Dreama Walker (Ashley Kowalski), Brian Howe (Steve Kowalski), John Carroll Lynch (Barber Martin), William Hill (Tim Kennedy), Brooke Chia Thao (Vu), Chee Thao (Grandma), Choua Kue (Youa), Scott Eastwood (Trey), Xia Soua Chang (Kor Khue), Sonny Vue (Smokie), Doua Moua (Spider), Greg Trzaskoma (Bartender), John Johns (Al), Davis Gloff (Darrell), Thomas D. Mahard (Mel), Cory Hardrict (Duke), Nana Gbewonyo (Monk), Arthur Cartwright (Prez), Austin Douglas Smith (Daniel Kowalski), Conor Liam Callaghan (David Kowalski), Michael E. Kurowski (Josh Kowalski), Julia Ho (Dr. Chu), Maykao K. Lytongpao (Gee), Carlos Guadarrama (Head Latino), Andrew Tamez-Hull (Latino Gangbanger), Ramon Camacho (Latino Gangbanger), Antonio Mireles (Latino Gangbanger), Ia Vue Yang (Hmong Flower Woman), Zoua Kue (Hmong Flower Woman), Elvis Thao (Hmong Gangbanger), Jerry Lee (Hmong Gangbanger), Lee Mong Vang (Hmong Gangbanger), Tru Hang (Hmong Grandfather), Alice Lor (Hmong Granddaughter), Tong Pao Kue (Hmong Husband), Douacha Ly (Hmong Man), Parng D. Yarng (Hmong Neighbor), Nelly Yang Sao Yia (Hmong Wife), Marty Bufalini (Lawyer), My-Ishia Cason-Brown (Muslim Receptionist), Clint Ward (Officer), Stephen Kue (Officer Chang), Rochelle Winter (Waitress), Claudia Rodgers (White Woman Neighbor), Vincent Bonasso (Tailor).
Synopsis: A disgruntled Korean War vet sets out to reform his neighbour, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal Kowalski’s prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino.
Comment: Modern morality tale effectively uses Eastwood’s embittered and recently widowed war veteran as the story’s conscience. Initially antagonistic to his Hmong neighbours he gradually grows to accept and like them, whilst taking on a mentor role for the young teenager. The script may heavily hammer home the point, but it is directed with taste, humour, and a strong sense of character progression. Eastwood is also on top of his game in the acting department and delivers his lines like the true veteran he had become. The final scenes wonderfully portray closure on the theme of salvation which resonates throughout this quality movie.
GRAN TORINO (USA/Germany, 2008) ****