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Awake In The Dark
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Old January 19th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #1
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Gran Torino

Saw this film at a two o'clock matinee the other day, and two things struck me.

ONE: At fifty-three, I was the YOUNGEST person in a house that was half-full.

TWO: It felt like a 'small' indy film.

Seriously, I was the 'youngster' in a sea of blue hair. Clint's audience is definitely aging. Or perhaps it was just the matinee that I went to.

As for having an indy feel to it - I mean that in a more or less positive way. Mostly, it was the production value of the film. I thought the story was good, the writing fairly solid - for the most part. I liked the message the film had about violence and redemption ( A VERY common theme for Eastwoods films in general).

But the overall production values seemed... 'small'. Nothing wrong with that. The script didn't call for big effects, no explosions or car chases to speak of. If memory serves, there weren't more than a half a dozen locations. (Counting a house and it's garage, rooms and yard as one location). No huge production scenes - and really - beyond Eastwood - no 'names' in the film at all. I thought I recognized a couple of the character actors in bit parts, but I couldn't tell you their names, and they weren't particularly good in their roles. The performances were also a bit 'rough' - Some scenes one character was good in, others' they were more wooden - almost as if that scene was rushed - the sort of thing you see in Indy films where you just say 'Screw it, we've got to move on...'

I understand Eastwood works really really fast, and I had just watched an A&E biography the night before. (Which prompted me to go see the film.) But I honestly thought that maybe they could have lit a few scenes a little better - that another take on the scene might have yielded a stronger performance, or perhaps better coverage would have yielded a tighter pace ... just my thoughts.

Overall, I like the film. But without Eastwood, it would have been a small 'indy' sort of production.

Any one else see it yet?
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Old January 19th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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Not sure, exactly, what your point is. Your critique seemed very...wellll....small.
AFAIK, Eastwood did his typical tuff guy role....way over-played for who he was supposed to be. It started slow, dragged until I wondered where this was going.

No spoilers, here. It ended better than I expected. All in all, a fairly lackluster performance by Clint, altho', the other parts were fairly substantial. The social message was intriguing, but, again, I don't think Clint's tuff guy portrayal really did everything that could have been done with the role. Glad I went, but, wouldn't go again. I think, at his age, he should stick to directing. If anything stood out, it was the fact that no one was directing Clint. He needed that in this film.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #3
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I think my point was that it WASN'T as well directed as I expected. Probably didn't make that clear. Much like a small indy film, where the quality can be uneven because you didn't have the time/money for another take - no names some stand out acting and some rough stuff - but the STORY carries the movie because there are no 'stars'.

That's what I think of when I think "Indy" and 'small' film. Limited locations, no effects, STRONG STORY/THEME, and no stars.

Problem was, Eastwood HAD the money/time and could have gotten names in all the parts. Like you said, no one was directing Eastwood.

I LIKED the story line. And the choice of the Gran Torino as the old car had real, metaphorical symbolism - especially if you know the history of that particular car - but you didn't need to know it to get the theme of the film.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #4
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Good evening,

Intersting comments.

My wife and I went to see it and first impression was so, so. Afterwards we found ourselves talking about it quite a lot and we found that we could not let go of it so easily.

In this regard it was like an idie movie that is out there to show you comparisons and contrasts between times and cultures.

In retrospect I have to give eastwood huge compliments making such a movie and dmonstrating so many aspects in changing times and cultures!!!

Being old enough to have my own seem to scheeme on my goods and seeing a lot of truth in it from numerous angles, it really was an amazing movie.

No it was not like his prior productions, mostly manipulated by others, and I must say it was a rreal sleeper!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old March 11th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #5
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Most Directors make films that will make the studio money hence forwarding their career but with Clint he makes what he wants to see. Who knows what he was thinking with midnight in the garden of good and evil but im sure it meant something to him.......i guess films like gran torino are just HIS movies.........I like filmmakers that aren't just out to please the masses.

At least thats how i view his films. And i agree with Richard that if it didn't have clint it would be just an indy movie but you have to remember it DID have him.


PS, IMO letters from Iwo Jima was the better film of the two and that says a lot to me.....age doesn't come its self but one of the positive traits is wisdom. Im only 28 but i respected the way he portrayed the regular japanese soldiers.
Actor: "where would that light be coming from?"
DP: "same place as the music" -Andrew Lesnie-
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