Today in class we watched the movie “Gran Torino”. Gran Torino is directed by Clint Eastwood who also has the lead role in the movie. It raises a number of issues, including ethnic relations, immigration, economic changes in America, life in urban America, individual violence and conflict resolution.
After we watched the movie we were told to open a pdf file and choose 5 questions to answer and write about on our blogs. The questions should be important to the understanding of the movie. Here are the 5 questions i choose to answer:
- How would you describe Walt’s relationship with his family? At the start of the movie, Walt is seen at his wife’s funeral. What impression does he have of his son’s family from these scenes?
I would say Walt relationship with his family is cold. There is no empathy from his sons’ side, therefore also the grandchildren have no respect for their grandfather. They show no respect, and respect is important to Walt so I think he is disepointed in his family.
- How does the physical state of the neighborhood impact the movie? What does the condition of the homes say about the neighborhood? How has the neighborhood’s population changed over the years and why? Why has Walt stayed?
Walt Kowalski is a cantankerous, retired polish American assembly line worker ans Korean War veteran. He has recently lost his wife, after a 50 years long marriage. He lived in the Highland Park neighborhood in the Detroit area of Michigan. The neighborhood`s population changed over the years. It used to be populated by working-class white families, but is now dominated by poor Asian immigrants. Gang violence is very usual. The houses in the street are old, broken and some are abandoned. So why has Walt stayed? Walt rejects a suggestion from one of his sons to move to a retirement community. This is because he is sensing that his son just wants his home and possession. I also think Walt stays because he has lived there for a long time, and probably has many good memories from there. He has lived there over 50 years, with his wife and maybe it feels like the he feels like he is closer to her when he lives where they used to live together. Walt ends up staying and lives alone with his elderly dog, Daisy.
- Walt locks Thao up. Why does he do this? Was locking him up the right thing to do? Have you ever tried to protect someone from themselves?
Spider’s gang, the mean boys, kidnap and rape Thao’s sister Sue. There are no other witnesses, while the community members, including the victims, refuse to assist the police to incriminate the assaulters. The next day, Thao seeks Walt’s help to exact revenge, whereas Walt tells him to return later in the afternoon. When Thao returns, Walt takes him to the basement, and locks him up, until the revenge is over, to make sure the boy will never be haunted by killing someone. Walt sure knows how that feels. I think this was a very caring thing to do of Walt. It shows that Walt truly was a good man.
- At the end of the movie, Walt sacrifices himself for Thao’s family and the neighborhood. Why did Walt do what he did? Would he have done the same for his family? What makes or allows a person to make such a sacrifice for someone else?
Walt got very close with Thao and his family, and he respected them. After the Spider`s gang attack Walt felt like he had to make it up to the Hmong family. Walt offered his life, so that the attackers could be caught red handed, on the eyes of dozens of neighbors. His plan was well thought through, as he didn’t even have a gun on him- this makes him innocent and clears him of all charges. I think what makes or allows us to make such a sacrifice for someone is the love. Walt really cared about the Hmong family, and justice was very important to him. He was brave and sacrificed himself.
- At the end of the film, Walt bequeaths the car to Thao instead of a family member. Was this unexpected? The last scene shows Thao driving the car down the road. The car has not been modified. What does this scene signify?
The scene that shows Thao driving the car down the road shows that he finally is free, because Walt saved him from the Spider`s gang. I expected that Walt would give Thao the car. They became close throughout the film and they respected one another. I think Walt gave Thao the car because of this, Thao turned out to be like a son to Walt. The son he never had.
Thao respected Walt, and for Thao to being given one of Walt`s most beloved things must have been a great pleasure. The Gran Torino was the only thing Thao had left from Walt, and it makes sense that Thao wants to keep it just the way it was when Walt lived. To honor his memory.