Picks and Pans Review: Gran Torino

updated 12/22/2008 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/22/2008 01:00AM

Clint Eastwood, Ahney Her, Bee Vang | R |

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Like the aging lion that he is, Eastwood growls—a purring, threatening "Grrrrrr"—to eloquent effect in this immensely enjoyable film. Essentially, Gran Torino is Dirty Harry Develops a Social Conscience. Eastwood, who also directed with his usual efficiency, plays widower Walt Kowalski, a bitter, bigoted former autoworker in Detroit who disapproves of his new neighbors, a family of Hmong immigrants. How he learns to appreciate them and their culture, and to help the family's teenage son (Vang) and daughter (Her) when they're threatened by a local gang, is at the generous heart of this terrific movie. Torino, and Clint, will make your day.

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