Gran Torino

Rated 4.0

The new movie by and with Clint Eastwood is a charming and surprisingly effective mishmash—part ethnic youth gang melodrama, part comic/ironic family saga, shrewdly self-reflexive vehicle for Clint the Elder, yet another provocative development in Eastwood’s remarkably productive late phase as director/auteur, etc. Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) is a septuagenarian widower and Korean War vet, a retired autoworker living in a Midwestern suburb now mostly populated with Asian immigrants. Haunted by his own past and contemptuous of the new, multiply scattered world emerging around him, the man brandishes his one-wolf tendencies at nearly every turn. But his fierce willingness to stand up to the neighborhood’s street thugs soon makes him a hero, however reluctant, to the local Hmong community. Nick Schenk’s script has several brands of pretentiousness rattling around in it, but Eastwood the director successfully deflates most of them, and Eastwood the actor takes care of the rest—mostly by just being Clint. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated R