"Gran Torino" on DVD 

Gran Torino is an after-school special disguised by grittiness and lots of swearing and bigoted name-calling. Eastwood plays grizzled old coot Walt Kowalski, who just lost his wife. His neighborhood has become more ethnically diverse and Walt doesn't like that. Then he meets young neighbors Thao (Bee Vang) and Sue (Ahney Her). Though he maintains the grumpy old man persona, he soon finds himself invested in the kids. Just as he used Unforgiven to reflect on the westerns that made him a star, Eastwood uses Gran Torino to take another look at his iconic Dirty Harry persona. Well, just is the wrong word. Gran Torino is contrived and heavy-handed. I liked it anyway, because Eastwood does a great job selling his character (as do the actors playing the brother and sister) and because the ending is satisfying (though I hate to think of the probable repercussions of the film's climactic scene to certain parties in the neighborhood). NOTE: The original three and a half star rating has been rounded up to four stars. 116 minutes.

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