Director : Clint Eastwood
Writer : Nick Schenk
Starring : Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley and John Carroll Lynch.
The voice over in one of the short trailer’s for this film states “Eastwood is in total command.” For an acting career that begun in 1955 – that’s an incredible 54 years ago, not only would you expect this, but you would want nothing but the best – and that’s exactly what you get for your money from arguably the biggest movie star of all time.
Where his fellow living legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino seem to be on a decline in their careers, Clint Eastwood – Director, Producer, Song Writer & Composer – for those of you unfamiliar – and Actor consistently does all of these at now a staggering 78 years of age, not only it seems with ease – but to the highest of cinematic standards.
Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) plays a hardened ex Korean War veteran who holds on to his prejudices for all to hear with his blatant, but often hilarious racial slurs. This is emphasized when a group of Hmong people – Chinese, although they like to distance themselves from this culture – move in next door. A scene has Walt invited over to the new neighbours home and with them all staring at him, he blurts out “What are all you fish heads looking at !”. This is just one of many, but in no way does this exceptional screenplay from Nick Schenk come across as racial but clever, emotional, funny and ultimately rewarding.
A relationship is built with the young boy Thao from the Hmong family after he tries to steal -albeit bullied from the Asian street gang to do so – Walt’s prized possession, his 1972 mint condition Gran Torino. What runs parallel to this and again this makes the script first rate, are the friendships that grow with Thao’s sister Sue (Her) and the young priest Father Janovich (Carley) – which in particular provide stand out scene’s – do not miss one word of these.
The young Bee Yang as Thao does not quite live up to the standards of acting required by a film of this calibre – along with one or two others, but this is something most would be prepared to over look when taking into account the film as a whole.
Clint the Director has never ventured too far away from the fairly conventional methods of camera work. Often watching his films, you feel perhaps these striking pieces of cinema could be improved with just a hint of the approaches used by directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Lee or Brian DePalma.
Rumours have Clint saying this is the last time he will be in front of the camera. After watching this stunning performance in which he echoes his characters from the Dirty Harry films and continues to use emotion just like he did to even more dramatic effect in Million Dollar Baby (2004), I for one am begging for him to change his mind.
SUPERIOR SCENE : Walt takes Thao to his barbers place, which is also his friend Martin (Lynch, who is an extremely under rated actor) – not for a haircut but to show him how real men should talk to each other. Genius scripting, hilarious and very true to real life.
QUALITY QUOTE : “I blow a hole in your face and then I go in the house and sleep like a baby. You can count on that. We used to stack f**ks like you five feet high in Korea – use you for sandbags.” Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood).
RATING : 4.5 / 5 stars
© BRWC 2010.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.