Movie: Gran Torino Gran Torino It is very rare to meet people who are exactly alike. Even those who are generically identical, still have different personalities and characteristics. People often wonder, what exactly is it that makes us who we are? Is it the way people were raised? The environment they grew up in? The role models around them? The experiences they have been through? It would seem almost impossible to determine exactly what makes up the character of a person. It is often believed that it is a combination of elements that mold us all into who we are.
The 2008 film, Gran Torino, was an amazing movie. Throughout the movie you can somewhat grab the aspect of people, and who they really are. It also showed why others act specific ways and the background to their way of living, mindset, and beliefs. The movie is mainly about an elderly, Polish American man named, Walt Kowalski, played by Clint Eastwood. He is a retired auto factory worker. The opening scene of the movie was a funeral service in dedication to Kowalski’s late wife.
In this scene, it is possible to make strong actualization about Walt Kowalski’s character ased of his facial expressions, verbal notations, and the facial expressions and verbal communications from others who were present. Kowalski’s wife was said the be extremely religious and was passionate about the Catholic religion. Kowalski on the other hand admitted to not being as into church as his wife, and expressed that his involvement in church was mainly out of love and respect for his wife. For the majority of the movie, including the opening scene, Walt’s face kept an angry expression.
He seemed to be grumpy and extremely aggressive to others. Later, fter the funeral, Walt held the reception for his wife at their home where viewers begin to see where some of Walt’s personality stems from. Walt stayed pretty much to himself, not reaching out to converse with many. He also seemed disconnected from the guest, tending to his car and other activities rather than talking to family and friends. Walt’s son, Mitch, did not seem to enjoy his father too much. Mitch also seemed like he was somewhat used to his fathers’ attitude and was not majorly effected by his disconnection.
During the reception, a young, Asian boy knocked at Walt’s door. He seemed to be very timid and shy. His name was Thao Vang Lor, a Hmong teenager, played by Bee Vang, who lived next door to the Kowalski’s house. Thao was simply asking for a minor favor from Walt and it was still an issue. Walt was extremely rude and spoke very harshly to the young boy. Kowalski began to wonder, “Why did ‘they’ have to move into this neighborhood? ” Walt was not a big fan of change and having neighbors who were Asian was not being racist and very conservative.
Walt even referred to his neighbors as barbarians when he viewed them in the middle of one of their cultural activities. Later in the movie, the same young boy, Thao, who knocked at Walt’s door, was caught trying to still his car in the middle of the night. Thao fell under the peer pressure of his gang banging cousin and was willing to attempt this act to fit in. When Walt caught Thao, Thao ran away and Walt was lucky enough to still have his car without damage. Thao’s failure to complete his mission was the start of a new beginning for both Walt, Thao, and the people of their community.
Refusing to be apart of another test, Thao decided to no longer continue with his negligent behavior nd desperate himself from his violent cousin. This decision led to a physical altercation between the Lor family and attracted the attention of Walt once the commotion was bought over to his lawn. Furious that the Lor family was on his property, Walt approaches Thao’s cousin and his gang member friends with a gun and threatens them to stay off his lawn and to get away. Though Walt was initially acting for himself, the Hmong family truly appreciated motion.
This was a pivotal moment in the movie. Instead of the typical negativity associated with Walt as a person, Walt was now viewed to this family as a hero. Once Walt found out it was Thao who tried to steal it, he was furious. It was then clear that Walt’s car was not Just his car, but his prized possession. It was his 1972 Gran Torino, a classic, vintage car worth a hefty amount of money. Due to Thao’s family being so grateful for Walt practically saving Thao’s life, Thao’s mother arranged for him to work for Walt.
Walt, at first, was completely opposed to the situation but after hearing Sue, Thao’s sister, and his mother out, he gave in allowing Thao to make up for his mistake. In between this time, Walt was developing a relationship with Sue. It seemed to be the only person he actually conversed with on a day to day basis. Even though he would say racial slurs such as, “l thought you Asian girls were smart,” and still seem angry and aggressive, Sue somewhat accepted Walt for who he was and seemed willing to continue interacting with him.
She told him, mfou’re a good man Wally. ” Walt became a hero for Sue when he stopped a group of black boys from roughing her up one day on her way home from school. It began to seem as if Walt was Sue’s and Thao’s protector. Between Walt attending a Lor family function with Sue and working with Thao aily in the mornings, Walt really began to think about life and how he treats people. He began looking out for Thao in other ways than Just physically protecting him.
Walt was able to set Thao up with a construction Job and also took him to his barber, where Thao learned how to talk like a “man. ” while working so closely with Thao and spending quality time with Sue, both Thao and Sue began noticing that Walt was ill. He began coughing up blood and seeming weak. Walt’s own son Mitch, called him in need a tickets to a game, not to check on him and see how his father was doing. It as seeming as if Thao and Sue were his kids due to the affection they gave him and the care he had for them in return.
Eventually, Thao was caught walking by himself when he happened to run into his gang affiliated cousin. In rage, Thao’s cousin and his gang member decided to beat up Thao and burn his face with a cigarette. After this incident, Thao stayed away from Walt, not wanting to disappoint him with the from Walt. Once Walt finally saw Thao and the burn mark on his face, Walt decided to pay Thao’s cousin a visit and set him and his crew straight. Walt stepping up to the plate o handle this situation truly showed his true colors.
Even though Walt was not the sweetest person or the most social, he stood up for what he believed in and what he considered to be right and set the tone for what he considered acceptable in his community. In one of the ending scenes of the movie, the Asian gang retaliated after Walt’s interaction with them. They came back and shoot up the Lor family’s home. Walt ran over there in complete urge. Walt made sure everyone in their home was okay, including their grandmother who Walt was not too fond of in the beginning.
Walt oon noticed that Sue was not there which raised concern. Thao then called his aunt, where Sue was suppose to be, and as Walt expected, Sue never made it there. Shortly after, Sue walks into her home looking completely pathetic. She had bruises and blood all over her body and was in a complete state of shock and speechless. This incident was the final straw for Walt as he dropped the glass out of his hand, due to the initial shock of Sue’s appearance. Walt knew it was up to him to put a complete stop to this madness and make things safe for Sue and Thao and their family.
Walt had a plan, a plan of his own to finally end this on going battle. Thao thinking he was apart of this plan, came over to Walt’s house prepared to go kill the gang bangers. Walt seemed as if he already had the whole plan fgured out in his head but decided to keep it from Thao. Knowing that Thao would want to be apart of the settlement, Walt locked him in his basement while he went to complete the mission. Arriving at the cousins house, Walt seemed confident and smooth, as if he had no worries though he had guns pointing at him and was completely out numbered.
Instead of immediately shooting at them, Walt acts as if he was going to pull out and light a cigarette. In the process of doing so, the gang members reacted to him reaching in his pocket and shot him, then and there. Strangely enough, this seemed to be the exact result that Walt was aiming for. This makes the idea of him leaving Thao at his house even more understandable. It was as if Walt knew if he allowed this to happen that he was going to get shot and possibly die in order to get these street thugs finally caught, arrested, and put away for good. And that is exactly what happened.
Thao and Sue showed up to the crime scene devastated and the feelings only got worse for the two when they saw Walt’s body, dead and covered. Thao knew Walt did what he did because he truly thought that was the only way to end everything for once and for all. In the end, Walt did what he did because he truly cared about the people who actually took the time to get to know him, accept him, and genuinely have love and care for him. He diminished the idea of differences between people and the anger he had built up. He felt accomplished and better about himself when the time came.
He no longer was the same Walt, he was the Walt he always was Just never bought to the surface. Thao ended up receiving Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino in his death will even though Walt’s granddaughter strongly hinted that she wanted it and the house was ending, the message to the viewers was probably only more impacting. It shows to try and not let little things bother you because they are pretty irrelevant issues. It also proves that rather you can see if from the beginning or clearly, there is always good in someone, even that very someone who you least expect it from.