Whispers Through the Gran Torino
In today’s run down America, many small towns and average American neighborhoods are being overrun and flooded with lower class families. This many times will cause homeowners to leave, turning the formerly friendly neighborhoods into neglected, beat up streets that no one wants to have to live with; and with this follows the gangs and the violence which will almost force all of the residents to leave. But what if someone were to stay? How could one live like that every day, wondering if your house would be robbed or if you got held up at gun point? The sad truth is this is happening in many major cities and their local suburbs in today’s America. Clint Eastwood’s movie “Gran Torino” focuses on these issues as well as many more with interaction between Walt Kowalski and the Hmong community in Detroit. The issues presented in the film deal with the gangs of America and overcoming peer pressure as well as racial differences between Walt and his new neighbors. As the film begins, there is a funeral of Kowalski’s spouse presided over by youthful Father Jancovich. During the reception at Kowalski’s house, Kowalski accuses Jancovich of knowing nothing about life and death, while at the time it did not seem relevant, it came full circle in the end. Kowalski is a Korean War vet with many memories of horror that he cannot suppress. Though he is not suffering from any post war stress syndromes, his language seems to be a response to that trauma in his life. When a Hmong family moves in next door, Kowalski exhibits strong prejudice against them as he refers to them as “gooks” which is a derogatory term used to identify Vietnamese people. Maybe he did this because he was an outcast in his neighborhood, or he was frustrated with his family, or maybe it was because he was so simply badass that he didn’t know else to handle the situation. However, when he stops members of a Hmong gang from intimidating his new neighbors by chasing the gang away...
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