Gran Torino : 4 of 5
I'm almost certain I would never have seen this film if I hadn't been invited with my pals, but I ended up really enjoying it, and it was nice to watch a "serious" movie again for a change. Gran Torino is about a Korean War veteran who has become a grumbly old man (his first dialogue in the film can only be described as a growl), living in a neighborhood that has become inhabited mostly by Hmong immigrants. Clint Eastwood's character is a product of his time, and during the course of the movie he spouts every racial slur known to man (and several I had never even heard), which becomes hilarious even though it's uncomfortable to hear at first! Clint's character seems like an elderly Dirty Harry at the beginning (with the guns to prove it), but becomes truly human as he befriends and helps his neighbors in their struggle against local gangs. There are lots of funny and warm moments in the story, but also some horrific plot turns that eventually bring the story to a close. Clint did a fantastic job, and I also enjoyed the performances of the young persistent priest, as well as the Hmong girl who lives next door who isn't scared to talk to Clint. My pals that saw the movie with me thought some of the acting of the minor characters was bad, but I never noticed it - I guess I was just wrapped up in the story. I completely expected to be pretty bored by Gran Torino, but it turned out to be a really interesting movie with a compelling plot, and it deserves the box office success it's having right now - I'm glad I saw it!