On "Gran Torino"
My expanded review of Gran Torino was published in today's Dispatch:
"Gran Torino" is a sort of throwback, and Eastwood's Walt is a kind of symbol for a bygone era in America. He's tough, prejudiced and set in his ways, but ultimately not beyond redemption. Coming at the end of the Bush era and the still uncertain but hopeful dawn of Obama, "Gran Torino" represents not just potentially "fascist" (as Pauline Kael once called "Dirty Harry") Hollywood iconography, but something much larger than itself, probably even more so than it realizes. It is an elegy for a country looking for atonement after losing its way in macho xenophobia. Walt's may be a dying way of life, and the gang is an even more passé trapping of unbridled machismo, but it is segueing into something new, keeping traditions while stepping timidly into the 21st century.Click here to read the full review.