Spoiler Points for Gran Torino (2008)

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Spoiler Points for Gran Torino (2009) [R] 116 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $14.50
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
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Spoiler Points for Gran Torino

If you were worried that someone was 'borrowing' your car without permission half way through Gran Torino so you left to check on it and couldn't get back in to the theatre, this spoiler's and commentary is for you.

• It all begins in a church near his home in Detroit. [Far too many movies start or end in churches don't they?] It's the funereal of Walt (Clint Eastwood) Kowalski's wife. The two sons, their wives, and the grandchildren are all there. It's clear that Walt would prefer to be anywhere else in the world but there. Father Janovich (Christopher Carley) leads the service. He expounds on life and death much to the dismay of Walt who seems to despise everyone there. The service in his home afterwards isn't much more lovely. The only good part is that it is here that we learn of Walt's most prized possession, the Gran Torino he's kept in mint condition. He's a bitter, bitter, old man. He likes no one and nothing save his golden lab, Daisy. He lives on beer and beef jerky.
• That is until, one day, he has a run-in with his neighbors and ends up saving the son, Thao (Bee Vang) from being kidnapped by his cousins into their Hmong gang. Suddenly, now he is a hero. He learns then that Thao was the kid who was in his garage a few nights back trying to steal his Gran Torino.
• The Hmong families shower him with gifts of food and rice wine for which he is growing a taste. The older sister, Sue (Ahney Her) tries to get on his good side seeing something good yet troubled in him. She invites him over to their barbeque and lets him meet the family and friends who have been dying to meet him since his heroic act.
• Over the course of the next few weeks, Thao, whom Walt calls Toad, begins to work for Walt to pay off his disgrace of trying to steal the car. Sue Lor notices a possibility for Walt to coach her brother who lacks a father figure. Walt is initially skeptical of having Toad do anything, until he realizes that he can use Toad's free labor to clean up the home of his neighbor across the street that he must stare at when sitting on his own immaculate front porch.
• He also happens to rescue Sue from some hoodlums on a street corner while her boyfriend, Trey (Scott Eastwood) cowered in the corner.
• In the process a bond forms between Thao and Walt. Walt also realizes there is not much to keep Thao out of his awful cousin's gang. So, he offers to help 'man' him up and get him a construction job. The scenes about this are as hilarious as they are stereotypical. You just have to accept that Walt is who he is. Offensive to the core, yet he's served his country bravely winning the Silver Star.
• One day, on his way home, Thao runs into his cousin and his gang. They steal all of his tools and burn his face with a cigarette. When Walt finds this out, he's furious and pays a visit to the gang members home. He waits until all but one leaves, and then tackles and threatens the boy. He tells him to leave Thao alone or face his wrath. For some reason, he thinks that will be the end of it. Meanwhile, he's coughing up blood and obviously isn't well. The doctors must find that he's got little time to live.
• Unfortunately, the gang doesn't sit still. Instead, they intend to wreak havoc on the street. They drive by and shoot up Thao's home from the street with machine guns. Walt hears the commotion and runs over. He's too late, the men are gone. Fortunately, everyone is ok inside. Except that, well, Sue is not home. No one knows where she is. Hours later, she shows up beaten and raped. It's bad. She's in sad shape. Walt, whose grown to think of the kids as his own cannot live with himself. He goes to confession, he buys a new suit, he mows his lawn, and then he locks Thao in his basement to keep him out of trouble and out of the plan for vengeance. Walt has a plan. It's one he's sure will put the gang out of Thao and Sue's life forever. But, it has to be perfect. So, he heads on over to their house. He gets out, engages them in conversation in the street. All of the neighbors hear the ruckus. They go out to see what's going on. Walt reaches for his lighter, and they think he's going for a gun so they unload on him. He's shot over and over. He falls to the ground dead as a doornail. It's incredibly sad. If you can watch this part without tearing up and filling with outrage, good luck. Just then, the police arrive. They arrest the entire gang. They've wanted these guys for a long time, but not they have many witnesses to a cold-blooded murder. It turned out that Walt was unarmed. It was his plan to die with honor and get the gang thrown in jail.
• At his funeral, Father Janovich admits that Walt once called him and over-educated, lonely boy who liked to hold the hands of old ladies and promise them hope who nothing about life or death and that he was right. Now, however, he knew something more about it.
• At the reading of the will, the house is given to the church because he knew that his wife would like that. This causes his daughter-in-law's eyes to roll back into her head. His granddaughter is convinced that she's getting the Gran Torino. But, it goes to Thao instead, as long as he doesn’t modify it with flames or a spoiler he can keep it.

This is a truly remarkable and lovely film that's as real and raw as you can expect to find. I highly recommend you see it. This spoiler cannot do it justice. Don't wait for DVD. Go now. It's best realized on the big screen.

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