Clint Eastwood’s latest is full of simply atrocious acting from everyone other than Eastwood. In particular, the priest played by Christopher Carley is stupefyingly monotone while reading his lines (and he only reads them, worse than Michael Madsen in Sin City), which makes me think Eastwood’s legendary effeciency as a filmmaker has reached the point of diminishing returns. These performances could only have benefited from a few more takes, right?
But it is almost worth it all just for the ending which is a revisionist take on the ending of Unforgiven. Where Unforgiven ultimately fulfills genre convention after two hours of debunking it, Gran Torino seems to be Eastwood’s attempt to finally revise the ending of Unforgiven in a redemptive direction.
I suppose Gran Torino is of a piece with The Dark Knight and Man on Fire — how the man of violence realises that the success of his true goal is possible only by self-effacement rather than by projection of will.