Gran Torino

Today we watched “Gran Torinodirected by Clint Eastwood who also is playing the main character. I have been a huge fan of Clint Eastwood for a long time and thus it is no suprise that I really loved the movie. Go watch it or buy the DVD or watch it and buy the DVD. Why did I lke the movie so much?

Spoiler alert…

I enjoyed the move so much not only because I think that Clint Eastwood is a marvelous storyteller. And not just because I like his raw way of acting. Mostly I enjoyed the movie so much because I found its story quite surprising on several levels.While the overarching story is somewhat expectable (the unlikely and unlikeable hero comes to terms with his internal struggles and defeats the bad guys) this movie surprised me in almost every micro element of its whole 116 minutes.

I believe that Clint Eastwoods rather simple way of representing the main character (for which he was criticized quite a bit) actually is completely intentional in order to again and again lead you on a wrong track. The evolving story presents many small surprises that d not comply with the cliches forced upon you on first impression. There e.g. is no long and hard struggle in Walt about overcoming the beliefs one might think he acquired in his previous 50-something years of life: Once he is treated with respect he treats others with respect – although he remains a grumpy and not overly sympathetic fellow. While he is very well able to kill (and his eyes are even more murderous than in “Unforgiven“) he refrains from violence as the utmost and final solution. He wins over the bad guys by dying without a fight. He doesn’t give all his belongings to the people he tried to protect and help in overcoming their odds – no, he gives these belongings to the church which never meant anything to him “because his wife would have liked that”. And so on.

Dozens of times Clint Eastwood plays up a cliche, quite often in a very one dimensonal and direct way, just to surprise you by not following it through “in the usual way”. I loved it and since almost everyone remained seated until after the last part of the credits scrolled through I like to believe that most of the others watching the movie together with us also enjoyed it tremendously.

I bow to Clint Eastwood and hope that he still has some more such gems waiting for us.

Thanks, Clint.

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