Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbours, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbour Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighbourhood.
The film has excellent examples of moral values throughout the development of the main characters such as courage, equality and selflessness. Courage is shown throughout the film countless times. No-one can say to another individual that their morals are wrong. No one’s moral are wrong, our morals stems from our perspective of what things are supposed to be not someone else’s view on morals. Though in the movie, Thao shows courage by trying to steal Walt’s prized car. Even though it’s a wrong decision to make, he shows courage and attempts to do it. It’s a value that we would all want. To show courage in the face of fear itself.
Courage is a very hard thing to come by, not many people have it but Thao demonstrates this even though it was wrong however he rights his wrongdoing. Walt also shows courage throughout the film such as when he beats up one of the gang members even though he is well aware of what they are capable of. The film portrays courage not only by using the actors but also film techniques such as camera shots. When a character is expressing bravery, the camera closes up on his or her face to show the emotion and expression in the eyes and facial movement. It helps the audience interpret the courage on a characters face.
Courage is moral value present in the movie. Equality is another value we hope to come by. The film evolves from racism to equality. When Sue befriends Walt, she sees him as an equal not as someone who is below her. Though their races are different, they show an understanding towards one another and they don’t discriminate each other. They respect each other and therefore show equality towards each other. That also happens with Thao when he gets to know Walt. Walt shows an understanding to Thao when they grow closer and even regards him as a friend. Equality is not always present in the world but it can be achieved.
Even the neighbours of Walt, grew to have an understanding with him who at first despised him to be white. However equality is eventually a value that not only Sue but also Walt, Thao and their neighbours possess. The film demonstrates equality as a need in this world. Finally, one of the most important moral values a human being can possess is selflessness. It is when a person puts someone else’s needs before their own. In Gran Torino, one of the most heartfelt and saddest moments was when Walt sacrificed his life for Thao and the neighbourhood. He knew that if Thao went after his cousin “Spider” he would die.
So Walt decided that he needed to do this not only for himself but for the whole neighbourhood. He came to confront Spider and the gang, he spoke very loudly to provoke the whole neighbourhood and have witnesses for what he was about to do. He asked if anyone had a lighter, he then reaches into his pockets, as he does this, the gang reaches for their gun in preparation. Walt grabs out his lighter but making it look like he was pulling out a gun from his inner pocket, then without hesitation the gang members had shot him. He was never armed and so the gang were charged and went to jail.
This sacrifice that Walt made was very admirable and was probably his most important morals. He believed in putting someone else’s safety before his own. This was a moral value that was the most important within the movie. In conclusion, these three values were demonstrated as the film progressed. It shows that a person who believed in their own moral values can be regarded as a hero. By following and believing in their own morals, it goes to show that you can help not only yourself but those around you. Gran Torino was an excellent movie about how a person who followed their morals can help those in need.