Love the Beast (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner11/11/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Engaging, unexpectedly personal documentary that takes an intriguing look at Eric Bana's lifelong obsession with his car but the film's tight focus means that it overlooks some potentially rewarding other elements.

What's it all about?
Directed by Eric Bana, Love the Beast is essentially a love letter to his beloved Ford Falcon muscle car that he's had since he was a teenager in suburban Melbourne. Bana explains that his family garage was like a clubhouse for him and his three best friends, Tony Ramunno, Jack Vukoja and Andrew Templeton, all of whom helped him rebuild the car during their formative years.

It's a point of pride to Bana that, despite Hollywood fame and fortune, both his friends and his car have remained a constant in his life, to the point where they still get together and work on the car, even entering it in the 1996 Targa Tasmania five-day rally. However, when Bana decides to enter the rally again, his subsequent headline-grabbing crash prompts him to take a close look at his obsession, with helpful contributions from an unlikely trio of fellow car obsessives: Jeremy Clarkson, Jay Leno and Dr Phil McGraw.

The Good
It might seem unusual to describe an obsession as sweet but Bana's feelings for his car are almost romantic in nature, though the film does a good job of showing how closely the car is tied in with his nostalgic family memories, his friendships and his sense of identity.

The interviews are equally interesting (not least because you get to see Leno's frankly astonishing car collection) but they take on an added poignancy once you realise that they're being conducted post-crash and that Bana is seeking their advice on whether he should rebuild his now totally destroyed car.

The Bad
However, in focussing so tightly on Bana's obsession with the Beast, the film ignores several other interesting elements, such as the potential conflict with his day job or the fact that his friends don't seem to actually like each other and only ever get together when Bana is around. In addition, the film is surprisingly humourless, despite a promising opening that includes a car-based routine from Bana's early stand-up career.

Worth seeing?
Petrolheads can probably go ahead and add an extra star but otherwise Love the Beast is a likeable and occasionally moving documentary, even if it's not quite the success it could have been.

Film Trailer

Love the Beast (15)
Be the first to review Love the Beast...
image
01 What We Do In The Shadows (tbc)

Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh

image
02 Serena (15)

Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper

image
03 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (tbc)

Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Ed ...

image
04 The Second Best Marigold Hotel (12)

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Richard Ger...

image
05 Home (PG)

Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez

Content updated: 01/11/2014 10:19

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Mr Turner (15)

Mike Leigh directs Timothy Spall in this exploration of the latter half of renowned painter J.M.W.Turner's life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films