Gran Torino: A Soul Cleansing

I’m sitting here, stunned, amazed, and in awe of the power of Clint Eastwood yet again. When I watched Million Dollar Baby, I recognized how tremendous he is as a filmmaker. I never thought much of his acting, really, but I knew he was fun to watch and that particular movie was emotional and moving and I figured it was Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank’s acting that really did it for me.

But now I know better. Oh, Freeman and Swank are great actors there is no doubt. But from the minute I pressed play on the DVD tonight, I felt something. I laughed, I cried, and most of all I felt.

The Asian-American actors in the film were not great; but they did their job, which was to support the story that Clint Eastwood carried with the best performance of his career. I still have tears in my eyes and its not because of the plot as much as it is because of the relationship of the characters. Not only was Walt’s relationship with his neighbors heartwarming, but the way he talked with his barber (a great performance by character actor, John Carroll Lynch) and the other people in his life.

Like “Up,” which I saw last weekend, this is a story of a grisled and grumpy old man who finds redemption in expected places. And like “Up,” the relationship – not the action, not the plot, and not the cinematography – is the star. The icing on the cake is that all three of those things are immaculate, as well in both films.

I hope that Mr. Eastwood continues to make movies until he can no longer do so and I hope that day is a long way off. What a way to cleanse my soul after that disappointing “comedy” I saw (part of) earlier today. I’m in awe after watching this film and feel inspired to create. That, my friends, is the true indication of a great piece of art.


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