Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Gran Torino

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Gran Torino

Article excerpt

GRAN TORINO

Directed by Clint Eastwood (Warner Brothers, 2008)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For three decades Clint Eastwood made his bread and butter celebrating the American myth of heroic violence, playing nameless cowboys and rogue cops who placed their shattered and lonesome faith in the business end of a Colt 45.

But since 1993 this Hollywood icon of muscular masculinity has had serious misgivings about the redemptive power of violence. In films such as Unforgiven and Mystic River, Eastwood rubs our faces in the broken, venal, even monstrous side of men who take guns and the law into their own hands. In his bookend set on World War II--Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima--Eastwood steps away from jingoistic patriotism, showing us the terror and hypocrisy mixed in with heroism and holding up the valor and humanity of our enemies. And in Million Dollar Baby Eastwood unmasks the cruelty and violence of the manly sport of boxing and makes us keep company with a victim of senseless cruelty. …

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