USA Today - 12/12/2008 3 stars out of 4 -- "[W]ell worth the ride....Told in a pared-down style, this is a humanistic tale....Earnest and understated, GRAN TORINO is an unflinching examination of themes that have fascinated Eastwood in most of his recent films: family, war, loss, faith and unexpected human connection."us
New York Times - 12/12/2008
"Mr. Eastwood's loose, at times very funny performance in the early part of the film is one of its great pleasures."
Los Angeles Times - 12/12/2008
"Eastwood has, with his impeccable directing style and acting presence, turned GRAN TORINO into another in his ongoing series of films that ponder violence, its place and its cost."
Rolling Stone - 01/08/2008 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "A lifetime in movies runs through this prime vintage Eastwood performance. You can't take your eyes off him."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/19/2008
"[A] movie at once understated and radical....This is subtle, perceptive stuff. '' Grade: A-
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/17/2008 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Eastwood plays the character as a man bursting with energy, most of which he uses to hold himself in. Each word, each scowl, seems to have broken loose from a deep place."
Box Office - 12/12/2008 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Youthful supporting players and Eastwood's hot-button portrayal give GRAN TORINO a chance to strafe the mainstream."
Washington Post - 12/25/2008
"In GRAN TORINO, Clint Eastwood delivers a breathtaking performance in a by turns appalling and hilarious role that recalls great ghosts of Eastwood vigilante thrillers past."
Total Film - 03/01/2009 3 stars out of 5 -- "[It's] disarmingly earnest, exploring the themes of vengeance, violence, hollow heroism and past that have fascinated Clint for decades."
Empire - 03/01/2009 4 stars out of 5 -- "Eastwood the actor grabs you with his first growl and has you between his clenched teeth for the duration....His direction is lean, clean and spare..."
Premiere - 06/08/2009 4 stars out of 4 -- "Eastwood continues his streak of excellent movies, and this is the ideal on-screen farewell for an icon..."
For his fourth directorial feature in the span of two years, Clint Eastwood tells the story of a grizzled Korean War vet's reluctant friendship with a Hmong teenage boy and his immigrant family. Set in contemporary Detroit, GRAN TORINO tackles the shifting cultural and economic landscape of not only the Motor City, but America as well. Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, an unabashed bigot who never heard a racial insult he didn't love. Bitter, haunted, and full of pride, Walt refuses to abandon the neighborhood he's lived in for decades despite its changing demographics as he clings desperately to a mindset long since out of step with the times. When his Hmong neighbor Thao tries to steal his prized muscle car as part of a gang initiation, Walt is forced to grapple with the world around him.
GRAN TORINO's approach to the complicated issue of race relations is equal parts Archie Bunker and CRASH. That is to say, there is nothing subtle about Walt's bigotry, yet his misanthropy knows no bounds, and Eastwood does a remarkable job of finding the humor in Walt's equal opportunity racism. More than simply a racial morality tale, however, GRAN TORINO is about the unlikely bonds that people form to navigate the subtle complexities every day life. Like MILLION DOLLAR BABY, GRAN TORINO explores the challenging yet rich new world that can open up when individuals let down their guard, even if for just a moment. Estranged from his family and his church, and without any sense of personal peace, Walt offers all that he has to Thao and his family, namely wisdom and protection. When tragedy strikes the family, Eastwood allows a little classic Harry Callahan to poke through, but the surprising finale posits a hero that Dirty Harry would never have the guts to be. It's a potent symbolic gesture to Eastwood's own growth as a storyteller.