The Grand Torino: Walt Kowalski Essay

2038 words - 8 pages

“…Good god it’s pathetic… Hacked seven-teen-year old kids to death…I did things… Horrible things that I have to live with” These are all excerpts from the main character of the movie Grand Torino, Walt Kowalski.

The movie “Grand Torino” is a motivating tale of the emotional struggles of the Anti-hero role of “Walt”: a widowed Vietnam veteran who fights a daily struggle with the memories of his sins as a soldier and his ever-growing biased against, what seems to be, all of humanity. This boorish character makes a perfect antagonist to the Hmong family that resides next door. Despite his entail reluctance to grow attached to the neighboring family a stimulating chain of events, starting with the attempted theft of the Grand Torino, transformed Walt from an embittered, materialist old man into a courageous hero with honors incomparable to those he earned in his army days. There are plenty of examples that can be pulled from the story line and used to mark each stages of the metamorphosis but there are three main quotes that caught my attention exclusively “Get off my lawn”; “I’ve got more in common with these goddmaned gooks than my own spoiled-rotten family”; and “You have no Honor.” Each of these quotes works as individual turning point of our antagonizing protagonists.
The first quote is introduced in the story during the earliest confrontation with Tao’s family over the attempted theft of Walt’s Grand Torino. Following Tao’s first gang initiation, the car theft, a second arrangement was made which was a classic “jump in” that resulted in a brutal struggle between Tao and his family on Walt’s front yard. The beginning climax rapidly grows in its violence as Tao get’s thrown to the floor. The rest of the gang proceeded to close in on Tao and suddenly the sound of a shot gun being loaded is heard from somewhere off screen followed by a distinct growl. The demanding voice is so hollow and bitter that it can only be recognized as Walt’s, “Get off my lawn.” He seethed from the side of his withered lips as cigarette smoke intertwined with his words. “Spider” the leader of the gang commenced to argue with Walt but was promptly cut off by the curt comment “I said get off my lawn. Now.” Walt's calm demeanor is unnerving to the gangbangers the guns in their hands seem tiny compared to the big military rifle Walt clutches in his worn but steady hands. “… Don't think for a second I won't blow a big hole in your face any it won't bother me a bit, not any more than if I shot a deer. Now get off my goddamned lawn.” Two of the Hmong gangbangers take a step back as it becomes painfully clear just how serious Walt is about killing them in front of god and everybody. This is a beautiful example on how Walt was at the begging of the movie. He was an old fashion, mean, bitter old man setting with his dog on his porch scowling brutally out to the masses, passing judgment on everyone who crossed his path with nothing but predetermined cruelty. We’ve all...

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