Monday, January 19, 2009

Clint Eastwood's Valedictory Performance – “Gran Torino”

Readers of The White Rhino Report know that I hold in high esteem the thinking and writing of Boston Globe film critic, Ty Burr. As usual, I find myself agreeing in large measure with his assessment of Clink Eastwood latest oeuvre, Gran Torino.

Ty Burr Review of Gran Torino

Yet, I found in this film something that Ty only fleeting alluded to when he talked about “The Last Temptation of Clint.” There is a deep spiritual thread that weaves its way throughout this film – a thread that reached out and grabbed my heart and caused me to reflect at length on the transformation that Walt Kowalski went through as the story progressed to its cathartic climax. As I left the theater, I was haunted by the recollection of a quotation that appeared in the diary of martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, slaughtered in Ecuador by Auca Indians who later came to embrace the faith that Elliot had endeavored to proclaim:

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

In the calculus of Kowalski’s troubled mind, he obviously arrived - albeit following a tortuous path - at a similar conclusion. The crusty racist Korean veteran, suffering from a severe chronic case of “hardening of the categories,” slowly came to arrive at a new and different answer to the biblical question: “Who is my neighbor?”

This film, Gran Torino, has its flaws, but is well worth taking for a spin as a vehicle for understanding that you can teach an old dogmatic new tricks.



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