It started out in typical Eastwood style: I hated the bigoted and bitter man he portrayed, Walt Kowalski, who had just buried his wife and lives in a sad depressed Michigan town next door to an extended Hmong family. Eastwood may be 78, but he still plays a very impressive disgusting bad guy. Walt's prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps polished and shiny in his garage.
In a series of events, Walt befriends Thao and Sue, two Hmong teenagers in the family next door. Walt showed his disgust of the Hmong matriarch by spitting on his lawn while sending her dirty looks, and she answers him by spitting out an even larger wad. Before long, Walt realizes that a Hmong gang will never leave Thao alone, that he is doomed to join them or die. The gang members taunt and torture Thao. What made this such a spiritual movie to me was the imperceptible journey from contempt to friendship that happened with Walt and Thao. There are also some very funny and poignant parts. An excerpt from Wikipedia of the New York Times Review:
Dirty Harry is back, in a way, in Gran Torino, not as a character but as a ghostly presence. He hovers in the film, in its themes and high-caliber imagery, and of course most obviously in Mr. Eastwood’s face. It is a monumental face now, so puckered and pleated that it no longer looks merely weathered, as it has for decades, but seems closer to petrified wood.Roger Ebert wrote that the film is "about the belated flowering of a man's better nature. And it's about Americans of different races growing more open to one another in the new century." But the scene I woke up remembering last night was the scene at the end, when you realize that Walt saw that he could still make a difference in the lives of people he cherished, and that without him a favorable outcome was almost impossible to imagine. The movie ends on a positive note, and everyone got what they deserved. Even Walt. I'm interested to know what others thought of the movie.