After watching this film I think nearly everyone would want a neighbour like Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood, the film’s protagonist). He’s clean, he’s quiet, no need for neighbourhood watch, he has got a great tool kit that you might be able to borrow and is actually very funny when you get to know him. This however, is all by the by. What you really want to do is befriend him, go down to a McDonalds car park after dark and find the biggest group of chavs you can and let him do the business. Think (apart from Dirty Harry) Chopper, but with a slicker and colder way of threatening his opposer.
“Ever fu###d with someone you should’nt have? That’s me.” Walt Kowalski.
Although Walt, a Korean War veteran, seems devoid of any human emotion other than disgust, he proves himself to be a very honorable man. Even his racist nick names are seen as gestures of affection by the the end of the film. Having just lost his wife and unable to relate to his 2 sons and grand children, he finds solace in the Hmong family next door. In particular the girl, Sue, and her brother Thao. Walt recognises the plight Thao is in due to his no good cousin trying to lead him astray and into his gang. The tug of war that takes place over the welfare of Thao is what drives the film and provides Walt with the compassion and direction that has been lacking in his life. This escalates to the point where Walt realises he has to act once and for all to end this fued and offer the young man some hope for the future. The development of Eastwood’s character through the film builds nicely to shaping this final conclusion.
The film is actually very funny. Walt’s dead pan voice and no nonsense persona give a great platform for some very humourous lines and make him quite lovable. The film is also quite well thought out and pleasantly subtle. Hours after seeing it things occurred to me that made sense, like when he chose to smoke in the house for the first time. You also take into account that he might be giving more thought to his health than he lets on, and this adds more depth to his already quite thought provoking character.
Overall I would say an enjoyable movie and provides further confirmation of Eastwood’s hard man on screen credentials, as if we needed any. Performed with style and impact. A lesson to budding tough guys everywhere. 7/10.
© BRWC 2010.
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