Clint Eastwood the director has always been much more interesting and thoughtful than one might assume given his recent ‘old-man-shouting-at-clouds’ act in the media, and Gran Torino is fine proof of that. It tells the story of Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), an old retired man in an increasingly ethnically diverse neighbourhood, angry at the loss of the “old” (aka white) America that he lived in, who cautiously befriends the Vietnamese Hmong family who moves in next door. It’s an engaging examination of racism and the trope of the Dirty Harry-style vigilante in the context of the real world, although the script tramples through some scenes in an especially leaden-footed manner and is occasionally lacking in detail. Kowalski is one of the most complex characters Eastwood has ever portrayed onscreen, and he is more than equal to the challenge. Even if the film’s impact is lessened by its considerable flaws, it remains one of Eastwood’s better directorial efforts.