February 4, 2009

Gran Torino


Finally watched Gran Torino yesterday. Wow. Crap dialogue, but what emotions. In certain ways a normal late-period Eastwood, roughly on-par with Mystic River or Unforgiven, better than Flags of Our Fathers, not as good as Letters From Iwo Jima, but 3 things jumped out:

1-Eastwood's a self-professed craftsman, with little visual style. But, shit, combining his the performances he gets with the fascination with a few themes, and he enters the top ranks of he mastercrafstmen of yesteryear (Hawks, Hitchcock, Huston, Ford, Curtiz). The personality that shines through the boilerplate material shows it off to best effect. It's whatever studio assignment, maybe. But it's also a personal meditation on dying, masculinity, the young, America, and violence. The fact that Eastwood can constantly get a point-of-view about the world is brilliant.
2-Michigan on the big screen is a strange sight. This may be one of the first movies I've seen that showed the state in the bittersweet light I see. From the details on the walls/plates/shapes of houses, to the way the light comes into the room, the whole movie was Michigan. Maybe I'll get inured to it after enough movies are made using the Film Incentives, but for now... to watch a delicate, well-made, emotionally direct movie set in this place... perhaps that's a big chunk of my bone-level reaction to it.
3-That man is a movie star.

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