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Gran Torino (2008)

Analysis of themes

Redemption

Father

Janovich asks many questions about the way


Walt lives his life. Walt asks Father Janovich What
the hell do you know about life and death? Janovich
replies: I'd like to think I know a lot, I'm a priest.

Walt

describes all of the awful things he has done in


Korea like hack a seventeen year old to death with
a shovel. He says he will remember these till the
day he dies, but that he is prepared to live with that
and Father Janovich replies sounds like you know
more about death than you do living.

Redemption

In

comparison, Father Janovich says at Walt's funeral Walt


taught me a heck of a lot about life and death.

Father

Janovich is like the audience: we learn from Walt's life,


death, and the impressive sacrifice he makes at the end. I've
got blood on my hands. I'm soiled. That's why I'm going it alone
tonight.

Walt

explains why his life is not as important as Thao's. He


possibly regrets some of the things he has done in the past. He
has killed before and so he is not clean like Thao. He doesn't
want to taint Thao's life/soul. He wishes to sacrifice his life so
that Thao can live the rest of his life without nightmares or
regrets.

Redemption

In

Christian faith Jesus Christ sacrificed


himself for humanitys sins. Does Walt's
sacrifice redeem all of the other sins he
made in his life? The symbolism of him
lying with his arms stretched like Christ on
the cross when he is dead may be trying
to suggest this.

Redemption

Conflict

film.

is the main issue that drives this

Gran

Torino explores how it is difficult for


different types of people to get along. A
lack of understanding between people is
the root cause of conflict. What different
forms of conflict exist?

Conflict between groups

Walt

doesn't understand his sons, you can imagine Walt


questioning: why have they moved to the suburbs? They
don't need all that space. Why do they buy and sell
Japanese cars? The Japanese blew up Pearl harbour!

Walt

doesn't understand his grandchildren: who exposes


their pierced belly button at a funeral? Why are they all
so lazy? What's with the cell phone being out all of the
time?

And

he doesn't understand the neighbourhood youths:


why are all these kids hanging in gangs?

Conflict Generational

But

none of these people understand Walt


either. His sons can't understand why he
has stayed behind in central Detroit. His
grandchildren think he is grumpy and
can't understand why he doesn't share his
car, and the neighbourhood gangsters
think he is nuts to try and stand up to
him: What ya doing old man?

Conflict Generational

Racism

is a force that has been particularly divisive in


America. As the world globalises we have to expect that
communities will become more diverse, but Walt
doesn't want to accept this.
This is made obvious by the constant derogatory names
he calls any one different to him: spooks Dragon
lady swamp rats.
His hatred towards Asian people could be explained by
the fact that he has killed Korean soldiers at war if he
sees them as inferior he might be justifying their deaths
to himself, although it does seem he carries the burden
of these deaths on his conscience.

Conflict - Racism

Walt

learns a very important lesson: that


you cannot define someone by their rac;
every person is an individual. It is an
unlikely lesson to learn as a 78 year old,
and even more unlikely as he learns this
from his friendship with two teenagers:
God I've got more in common with these
gooks than my own rotten, spoiled
family.

Conflict- Racism

Conflict

between American and Japanese


cultures. Eg. The car manufacturing

Conflict

between different gangs in the

Conflict

between old verses new

area.

Other conflicts

Thao

is criticised by other Hmong people for being bossed


around by his sister, mother and grandmother and for doing
girls 'duties'. Most other male Hmong teenagers are gang
members, where being tough, marking your territory and
intimidating weaker beings makes them feel like a man.

As

far as traditional definitions of masculinity goes, Walt fits


it. He went to war, he worked in a car factory, he is a
handyman, he likes beer and beef jerky, he swears, and
enjoys banter with his mates. And apparently he's got
something to teach Thao about being a man.

The idea of masculinity

Sue

points out to Walt that he is like a father figure


and good male role model for Thao, something he has
never had.

Walt

teaches Thao some basic handy man skills, he


gets him a real man's job and teaches him how to talk
'man to man.' But the real lessons that Walt teaches
Thao are to take responsibility for yourself, to treat the
women in your life with respect, and that he can be a
better man than any of the gangsters in the
neighbourhood.

The idea of masculinity