Alistairm's Blog

Similarities and differences between Gran Torino and Odds Against Tomorrow.

Posted in Uncategorized by alistairm on March 2, 2010

Odds Against Tommorow is a 1959 Film Noir. The film is significant as it was the first in it’s time to incorporate a black protagonist. This element serves as a contributing factor to the gritty realism of the film and it’s fiery conclusion. It is apparent that the film alludes to the 1950’s nuclear war tension, stating a solid message that racism will bring the end of the world. Gran Torino is a drama film, alluding characteristics of film noir and melodrama. The narrative works in a similar way, showing that life cannot work with racism as Walt is isolated and contemptuous towards other races. He eventually realises the ills of his ways and redeems himself.

Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino delivers a message of racism and redemption. Whilst we scorn his racial slant, we also sympathise with him and come to terms with why Walt is racist. He is depicted as an archetypal aged white American, despite his Polish origin his prejudice to other races, undoubtedly caused by his veterancy, is evidently set in stone.  Sacrificing himself for the Hmong shows his change of heart. Odds Against Tommorow depicts racism in a way that the audience at the time would have related to, however the penultimate scene displays the consequences of having such views, the fiery conclusion of racism and prejudice in general.

Social intergration, between blacks and whites, is a valued virtue in both films. Where the white protagonist and ethnically contrasting characters must work together to solve the antagonising problem. The outcome of both films show not only that it is necessary to socially intergrate but also that by not doing so can have heavy consequences. Gran Torino conveys this by depicting Walt as a bad character; prejudice of his neighbours, the Hmong. Odds Against Tommorow conveys this by the oil rig explosion and the fiery outcome.

Odds Against Tommorow is a film noir, which dramatises the racism. The failed heist, caused by the uncooperative nature between the two characters, is the incorporation of the typical pivotal moment in a film noir – which serves to deliver a message and have a dramatic outcome. Similarily, Gran Torino has a similar outcome whereby Walt becomes aware of his impending death and decides to sacrifice himself for the Hmong. The film noir element helps to contribute to the overall anti-racist message and make it more prominent to the audience.

Walt and Earl share similar chararacteristics in the way that they are both typical Melodrama protagonists, both being war veterans who have been burdened heavily by war. Their burdens are carried as they share similar indignation towards ethnic minorities. Though Odds Against Tommorow is a film noir, it still contains certain aspects of melodrama which contribute to the apocalypse-alluding ending. Their war veterancy makes their racism justified, yet not acceptable. The large time-lapse between the two films releases also conveys the changing attitudes of the audience. Odds Against Tommorow, despite the message being less clear, offers a less resolving ending, conveying the message that the racism in the film is an on-going problem. Gran Torino however shows that Walt is isolated from the rest of the community because he is racist, but slowly intergrates within it; He becomes happier, accepting the Hmong as an ideal family opposed to his own spoilt family.

Despite the time-lapse, the films offer similar message in the way that society is hindered by prejudice views and that resolve is essential. Both films overlap in terms of narrative structure and genre elements and share the same anti-racist message throughout however the contrasting audiences make it necessary for the films to evolve, as Gran Torino could arguably be the evolution of society, caused by the need to change society, depicted in Odds Against Tommorow

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