Essay Gran Torino

2212 Words Jul 1st, 2012 9 Pages
Related text for Belonging:
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Walt and his family: religion
The opening of the film introduces us to WALT KOWALSKI at the funeral of his wife. The opening scene and the next (the wake) show us that Walt has no desire to belong either to his family or to his religion. Everything jars with Walt, from the young priest giving the eulogy to his granddaughters belly button ring, from the Japanese car driven by his son to his granddaughters crass selfishness. He perceives his family as selfish, materialistic and shallow. His family also reject and are intolerant of him. He also rejects the ties of belonging represented by religion though we only learn the real reason for this later. It’s quite plain he thinks
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In representing how Walt shifts from one set of values to another the film uses a classic plot sturcture of development, crisis, climax and denouement. The opening scenes lay the groundwork: there is a crucial incident (Walt’s rescue of Tao from the gang’s attempt to re-cruit him – “get off my lawn” ) and an almost inevitable cycle of cause and effect drawing Walt closer and closer to the family, to the point where his own involvement with and interest in Tao and the family lead to a classic conflict situation(with the gang) and the final dramatic climax. A subplot in the film is the relationship with Father Janovic and the priest’s attempt to bring Walt back to the Church – and Walt’s own unresolved issues about the war.
Walt is represented throughout as a character in conflict between his old values and the present, his fierce individuality and his loneliness and need to belong, his extreme racism(borne partly of the war), and his recognition despite this of the humanity of his neighbours. One clever way this is represented is the fact that even while his attitudes are changing, (we can see this subtext in Eastwood’s body language, facial expressions and tone of voice) Walt’s language remains the same. (“Bring me another beer, Dragon Lady”). He becomes more and more comfortable with

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