In today’s class we watched a movie called «Gran Torino» which is produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. It is a story about an old veteran, Walt Kowalski, who lives next door to a Hmong family. He has a lot of prejudice towards the family and does not like it when they try to interfere with him. Kowalski loves his old Gran Torino and uses a lot of time working on it. Because of his participation in the Vietnam War, he has some very deep scars and is haunted by his actions in the past. This is displayed throughout the movie because of the way he acts towards other people and the way he treats himself. In the beginning of the movie he has a lot of racial beliefs towards the Hmong family. He won’t talk to them or look at them because he thinks they are “barbarians”. Later in the movie he gets to know them better, especially the young boy Thao and the young girl Sue, and he learns about their culture. During the film, their bond grows stronger and Walt starts appreciating Sue and Thao as family. He even gives away his precious Gran Torino to Thao because he wants to show his appreciation to him.
When Kowalski talks to the local priest he says that what haunts men is not what they are ordered to do, but what they do when not ordered to do something. This idea really got to me. When a soldier is ordered to do something they can blame their leader for making a mistake instead of blaming themselves. They might think they were simply following orders, but if they did something from their own intentions they would not have anyone to blame but themselves. There are of course many situations where you are almost forced to do something you don’t want to do, but this does not always justify your actions.