Monday, 31 August 2015

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

A magical film set in the 1950s about an old Kiwi with heart issues, determined to break the land-speed record for sub-1000cc motorbikes on Bonneville Salt Flats on a home-brewed bike, based on a old 1920 Indian Scout (originally designed to run at a max of 54mph).

Burt Munro is simple man, bemused by the complexity and bureaucracy of life, but with a supreme belief in himself, his bike and humanity. Burt makes his own piston-heads with reforged Chevy parts and his own slicks with a carving knife. Burt starts his bike with a jump-cable connected to his boot and by covering the air-intake with the palm of his hand. Burt is really, really funny. Burt is everyone's grandpa rolled into one big loveable lump. Burt is fucking awesome!

I'm not a huge fan of Anthony Hopkins, although I adore his performance in Remains of the Day, but his Burt is so perfectly and beautifully constructed that I believe every single word that comes out of his mouth and, more to the point, believe he can break any record he wants to. If Burt said he was going to the moon, I'd ask if I could pack a lunch for him. Sure, his accent is more mummerset than antipodean but I'll forgive that.

The film is as much about Burt's effect on the people he meets as much as the journey and the record attempt itself. Everyone seems changed for the better after meeting this genial old man and this, in my opinion at least, makes The World's Fastest Indian the greatest "feel-good" film ever produced.

Then there's the record attempt itself - a totally gripping finish that'll have you on the edge of your seat shouting "Woo Hoo!".

A lovely film about belief, determination and spirit. Do yourself a favour and watch The World's Fastest Indian... oh, and buy yourself a fucking shed!

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