In Gran Torino, Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a curmudgeonly and racist Korean War veteran. Walt lives in a Detroit neighborhood that has long lost the middle class, white center he knew when he moved in and raised his family some forty years ago.
As the middle class white folks fled to the suburbs (including Walt’s own children), lower income and ethnically diverse families replaced them. Walt’s own street has seen a major influx of Hmong families. With the changing economic and ethnic diversity has come an escalation in gang activity.