Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Case for Silver Steel

Clint Eastwood always has a particular look about him. Even when he is playing happy or introverted, his visage bears a similar scowling grimace, his real emotions displayed through his hands and whether or not they are brandishing a fairly powerful firearm.

Gran Turino is one of his gun-toting roles, and I have to say, as a plane movie, it works really well. The story is fairly straight forward (All American male confronts his prejudices and his demons when “those” sorts of people move in next door) and the story moves along at a leisurely pace, meaning the odd distraction through the accidental turbulent spillage of a beverage or random announcements from the flight crew did not really get in the way of understanding what was going on.

Eastwood is in fine, chiselled form, his aggressive bearing as intimidating now as it was back when he was a hard nose cop with the most powerful handgun in the world in his hand. Perhaps this is no different from a lot of his other roles, but, if that is the case, that practice has served him well. The rest of the cast were more or less unknown to me, but Eastwood (as director) managed to elicit some great – or at least convincing – performances and the whole thing came together like a well-oiled machine.

Oddly enough though, watching this movie and then seeing the original Karate Kid proved how well-oiled this particular style of movie is – it is not a new concept, merely with a mild twist on the delivery. This time, there was no Mr Miyagi preaching wisdom from the East to instil confidence and respect to the youngsters. In the 2000s, reality dictates that conflict is solved through someone holding a bigger gun than the other, or else has more of them.

So the story is kind of uplifting, in a fairly depressing kind of way. But on the surface, Gran Turino is a great film in which to watch Eastwood doing what he does, and doing it well.

Verdict: Nothing new, but this Magnum still packs a punch. 70 miles per hour in a 100 mile per hour zone.

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