The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
NewZealand / English
"Based On One Hell Of A True Story
"The life story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years building a 1920 Indian motorcycle -- a bike which helped him set the land-speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967.
Blatantly Kiwi, surprisingly Universal
'The World's Fastest Indian' is a unique movie that not only provides a
film that New Zealanders anywhere can be most proud of, while at the
same time contemplating universal themes that everyone outside the
borders of the country can relate to.
The film contains that familiar 'Number 8 fencing wire' mentality that
resonates throughout New Zealand society - and also echoes those tropes
of masculinity that are so prominent within the National cinema: Burt
tinkers with his 1920 Indian Motorcycle with the most unexpected
results, using common household objects; he travels to the Bonneville
Saltflats in Utah alone, getting by on his wit; and has that dry sense
of humour that is familiar around these parts. It also contains the
familiar 'man Alone' motif, but in a foreign country, and also touches
on that other image of New Zealand men tinkering in their sheds. The
film is, what I would call, blatantly Kiwi.
Wider themes that surface are of isolation, alienation, and beating the
odds to achieve your dream. What I can definitely say about 'The
World's Fastest Indian', is that it's very refreshing - this is no
typical underdog story; it's a story that proves that you're never too
old to follow through with a dream you've had for years. It was great
to have a protagonist that was older than the usual one in contemporary
movies, and seemed to give the film more of an anchoring in reality. It
makes it far more easier to believe in the story and it's motivations,
and heightens the sense of isolation one sometimes goes through when
following your heart.
Sir Anthony Hopkins does an amazing job as Burt Munro - the New Zealand
accent is impeccable, aside from one or two vowel sounds. His
subtleties communicate an intense psychological battle and
determination to get the chance to achieve his dream, and his typical
sense of humour is wonderful. I'm not sure how accurate this portrayal
of Burt Munro is, but the screen character is engaging and pulls the
audience in for a solid 2 hours as we watch Burt battle with his
demons, and the lack of people's belief in his achieving his goal.
All in all, 'The World's Fastest Indian' is a fantastic film that New
Zealanders can be proud of, soaked with Kiwi humour and a character
that will remind a lot of us of our grandfathers and that older
generation that never complained and got on with life, no matter what
they were up against. For international audiences, it's a wonderful
underdog story about an older man who had never given up on getting his
chance to achieve his dream.
'The World's Fastest Indian' is a fantastic film, and will inspire
anyone who gets the chance to see it. Roger Donaldson continues his
fine tradition of great movies, and all Kiwis should hold him up to the
same heights as they do that other Jackson fulla!
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