Gran Torino was fantastic, instantly among my favorite Eastwood movies (like Blood Work, Heartbreak Ridge, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and In The Line of Fire). Remember In the Line of Fire? "I know things about pigeons, Lily." Fantastic.
Why is it so good? Is it because Clint Eastwood can look at you, growl, and do more damage than most people can with a pistol? That is certainly true. It is amazing how real Eastwood's character feels, how even as a curmudgeon with a penchant for antiquated slurs, he seems like a good guy.
The role of religion was interesting as well. I think it's possible that the martyrdom angle at the end was too much, but I enjoy new perspectives on the role of religion on modern life, and this made me feel like it's people, not fear or fervor, that keeps religious institutions strong. The pastor in Gran Torino was a whole lot more interesting than Father Phil from The Sopranos.
It's such an interesting reminder about survivors, of every ethnic group, of every generation, and how the survivors among us are often the ones who bring out our own greatness. For its fantastioc dialogue, its moments of cross-cultural reconciliation via food, the Pabst Blue Ribbon, and good old Glint Eastwood being a bad-ass, I highly recommend seeing it.