Directed by Clint Eastwood
A bigot makes nice with immigrants who’ve moved to his Michigan town.
If it weren’t for Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino wouldn’t work, said Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. Besides directing, the 78-year-old leads the cast, playing a racist Korean War vet who, after much grief, learns to appreciate his Hmong neighbors and their culture. Nick Schenk’s politically incorrect script is “often heavy-handed,” the supporting cast is just okay, and even Eastwood’s direction doesn’t measure up to his usual high standards. Yet his arresting performance, which the actor has said may be his last, outshines the film’s flaws, said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.com. As the main character reluctantly transforms from Archie Bunker into a compassionate man who learns to set aside his old-fashioned ways in the face of multiculturalism, Eastwood creates a film “about what America looks like now.” He also subtly explores the complex issues of race, violence, and reconciliation. It’s “exactly the movie he wanted to make at this point in his long career,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. Dirty Harry has gone soft in his old age, but maturity suits him.