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Gran Torino Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy old man who can’t get along with either his kids or his neighbors. He is a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao’s family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a cantankerous, retired Polish American assembly line worker and Korean War veteran, who has recently been widowed after 50 years of marriage, causing him to be a lapsed Catholic. His Highland Park neighborhood in the Detroitarea of Michigan, formerly populated by working-class white families, is now dominated by poor Asian immigrants, and gang violence is commonplace.
Adding to his isolation and detachment are his feelings towards his married sons and their families.He rejects a suggestion from one of his sons to move to a retirement community (sensing that they want his home and possessions), and lives alone with his elderly dog, Daisy. A longtime cigarette smoker, Walt suffers from coughing fits, occasionally coughing up blood, but conceals this from his family. Roman Catholic priest Father Janovich (Christopher Carley) tries to comfort him, but Walt disdains the young, inexperienced man. Eventually, Walt opens up to the priest, revealing that he is still haunted by memories of the war.The Hmong Vang Lor family reside next door to Walt. Initially, he wants nothing to do with his new neighbors, particularly after he catches Thao (Bee Vang) attempting to steal his 1972 Ford Gran Torino as a coerced initiation into a Hmong gang run by Thao’s cousin, Fong, whose nickname is “Spider”. The gang is infuriated by Thao’s failure and they attack him, but Walt confronts them with an M1 Garand rifle and chases them off, earning the respect of the Hmong community.
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