Eastwood in Gran Torino

Gran Torino is a movie worth seeing. Being a big Eastwood fan it is a foregone conclusion that I will see any movie that he acts in or directs, but it is not an overstatement to say that Eastwood is one of the most prolific and diverse actors/directors of any generation alive today.

This movie is basically a western set in an urban setting, modern day Detroit. It has all of the elements that make a great western, including a moral dilemma that causes a crisis of confidence coupled with a resolution that overcomes a physical challenge. Then of course there are horses and guns, or in this case, cars and guns. It would be a mistake to suggest that this is just another vehicle for Eastwood to be the tough guy on screen, but it does say a lot that Eastwood at near 80 years old is still the toughest guy on the big screen.

Great westerns are allegories that explore complex contemporary subjects. The Searchers, John Ford’s classic starring John Wayne who later declared this complex movie his favorite, came to mind while considering Eastwood’s latest. Like The Searchers, Gran Torino is a story about cultural bigotry, substitute family, faith, changing society and in the end each main character rides off uncertain about their role in a changed world.