I should have know when we walked into the theatre. People were still lingering from the previous showing, listening to the last bars of music from the credits play while the while the ushers were cleaning up.
I might have said it wasn’t my kind of movie, but hey – when you’ve been married for more than ten years and your Friday nights have been reduced to frozen pizza and rented flicks, you’ll go see anything when your husband surprises you with the offer of dinner and a movie. Especially when he’s in the middle of another school semester. He’d seen this movie with a friend the weekend it opened, and has talked about nothing else since. I now understand why.
It’s hard to review this movie without giving away any of the plot line, so I’ll give a few impressions instead. Let’s just say it was a crusty version of Clint Eastwood (can the man get any crustier?) set in the throes of racial conflict and inner personal turmoil. The language was – well, there was a lot of language in it. But for some reason it didn’t bother me, probably because it was so in context. With any movie set against a racial backdrop, there’s bound to be some prejudice, something I really can’t abide. And yet even that was integral to the story as a starting point.
The characters were endearing. The plot line was fairly believable. No cops and robber theme. No high speed chases (which was surprising given the movie was named after a car!) No sex. But what I appreciated most is that there was movement, i.e. the characters changed and grew as the movie developed. When it was over, we too just sat there, listening till the last bit of music had played out. And then we had some great conversation on the way home, which to me is always an indicator of a good movie.
Should you see this movie? If you can push past the language, I’d say definitely. If you prefer movies that wrap up perfectly, this may not be your bag. But if you appreciate a movie that reaches down and stirs the waters of the soul a bit, one that confronts life and death head on, you might just enjoy Gran Torino.