Published 13 February 2009 · Main Posts Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino Rjurik Davidson I saw Clint Eastwood’s new film, Gran Torino a couple of days ago. Despite his sometimes deep conservatism, some of Eastwood’s earlier films are exceptional, especially Unforgiven, which has a claim to the best western of all time, and Mystic River. It seems to me that in his later years (once he was past his terrible Dirty Harry movies and the appalling precursor to Fatal Attraction, Play Misty for Me) his films have been quite intelligent meditations of the law and violence. Gran Torino follows the same path (a grumpy old republican widower starts to defend his asian neighbours from a “gangsta” gang – just what is permissible when the law breaks down or is non-existent?). Again, the politics are pretty conservative (there isn’t much analysis of why there are gangs in the first place, the gang is treated as unremittingly bad etc), and his analysis of race relations treads a fine line (as an aside I believe Spike Lee and Eastwood recently fought a running battle about Eastwood’s exclusion of African Americans from his war films) but it’s on the level of filmmaking that the picture falls down. The script just isn’t good enough for Eastwood’s direction (usually so sure) to save the film from mediocrity. It’s not the worst film out there (I had the excruciating experience of watching the Sex and the City movie lately – but let’s not get started on that one…), but probably one for video. Rjurik Davidson Rjurik Davidson is a writer, editor and speaker. Rjurik’s novel, The Stars Askew was released in 2016. Rjurik is a former associate editor of Overland magazine. He can be found at rjurik.com and tweets as @rjurikdavidson. More by Rjurik Davidson › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202312 September 2023 · Main Posts Announcing the 2023 Judith Wright Poetry Prize ($9000) Editorial Team Established in 2007 and supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets seeks poetry by writers who have published no more than one collection of poems under their own name (that is writers who’ve had zero collections published, or one solo collection published). It remains one of the richest prizes for emerging poets, and is open to poets anywhere in the world. In 2023, the major prize is $6000, with a second prize of $2000 and a third prize of $1000. All three winners will be published in Overland. First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202315 September 2023 · Main Posts Announcing the 2023 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize ($6500) Editorial Team Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and named after the late Neilma Gantner, this prize seeks excellent short fiction of up to 3000 words themed around the notion of ‘travel’; imaginative, creative and literary interpretations are strongly encouraged. This competition is open to all writers, nationally and internationally, at any stage of their writing career.