If you want to watch a movie about cars, you have your pick of many, many films. You can choose a movie with fast cars, American muscle cars, tuners, or any other type you can think of. At first glance, Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, released in 2008, is just another movie about a muscle car; it has to be right? The title of the film is the name of a car. Actually, this movie is about so much more than that finely preserved piece of American muscle and automotive history. Together, Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. Pictures created a masterpiece with this film’s well portrayed characters, believable storyline, and universal message.
Gran Torino stars Clint Eastwood as the cantankerous, racist, Pabst Blue Ribbon guzzling, retired autoworker and Korean War veteran, Walt Kowalski. Walt lives with his golden Labrador retriever, Daisy, in the now crime ridden city of Detroit in the same house where he raised his family. From a conversation between Walt’s sons, Brian and Mitch, “The point I am trying to make is, there’s nothing anyone can do that won’t disappoint the old man. It’s inevitable. That’s why we stopped doing Thanksgiving.” it is evident the relationship between Walt and his sons is not a very pleasant one.
Walt’s racism seems almost ingrained in his DNA, and he does not hesitate calling his immigrant neighbors any and every possible offensive and hateful name he can, such as ‘gooks,’ ‘swamp rats’ or ‘zipperheads.’ He makes no attempt to hide his distaste for his Hmong immigrant neighbors in what used to be an almost exclusively WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) inhabited neighborhood.
Walt’s prized possession is his 1972 Gran Torino Sport, which he helped assemble during his days at the Ford assembly line. It represents some of the happier times in his life. When one of his immigrant neighbors, Thao Van Lor (Bee Vang) is pressured into stealing Walt’s Gran Torino by a local Hmong gang, the old man realizes that he is...