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5 Plot Point Breakdown: Gran Torino (2008)

By Keaton Ziem · September 12, 2011

Screenplay Genre: Drama

Movie Time: 116 minutes


Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), Korean war veteran and a recent widower, attempts to live out the rest of his days quietly despite trying to ignore a family of Koreans that have moved in next door. However, he can’t ignore them any longer when one of the boys, Thao (Bee Vang), is recruited by a gang to steal Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino. Walt wakes up in the middle of the night to thwart Thao’s initiation at gunpoint, though Thao manages to escape. (0:21:52)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

The gang continues to intimidate Thao, pressuring him to join them until they try to take him by force. A fight breaks out, crossing the line from Thao’s house and onto Walt’s property. Walt threatens to kill anyone that messes with him or his property again, thus quieting the gang’s presence in the neighborhood and elevating Walt to the status of local hero. (0:26:42)


Afterwards, Walt is approached by Thao’s family and told that traditionally, Thao is required to offer his services to Walt in order to make amends for attempting to steal his car. Walt agrees hesitantly, and soon the two develop a bond as Walt teaches Thao responsibility and accountability. (0:56:02)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Before long, the gang returns to threaten Thao and his family again. Upon discovering that the gang has targeted Thao once more, Walt steps in and attacks one of the gang members outside of his home, demanding that they leave Thao alone or suffer the consequences. Their response is to shoot up Thao’s house and kidnap Sue, who is then returned later that night, beaten and bloody. (1:29:11)


After Walt locks Thao in his basement in order to prevent Thao from trying to kill the gangsters to avenge his sister, Walt arrives at the gang’s apartment and calls them out, slowly wearing on their nerves until the gang publicly executes him in front of neighborhood witnesses, resulting in the gang’s inevitable imprisonment and thus saving Thao and his family through Walt’s planned self-sacrifice. (1:46:06)

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