The World's Fastest Indian (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/03/2006

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 127 mins

Like The Straight Story, only faster – this is an enjoyable, heartwarming feel-good drama with a terrific performance from Hopkins.

What’s it all about?
Written and directed by Roger Donaldson and based on a true story, The World’s Fastest Indian is set in the 1960s and stars Anthony Hopkins as New Zealand pensioner Burt Munro. Born and raised in Invercargill, Burt is regarded as something of a local eccentric, always tinkering with his classic 1920 Indian Twin Scout motorbike and occasionally getting into amusing scrapes, such as challenging a local biker gang to a race on the beach.

Burt’s lifelong dream has been to make his Indian motorcycle the fastest bike on earth, so he travels to America in order to enter the Speed Week event at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. But will Burt’s infectious charm be enough to convince the organisers to let him race?

The Good
Comparisons to Lynch’s The Straight Story are justified, since both films depict an irascible pensioner having adventures during a road trip. However, Donaldson winningly combines the road movie elements with the kind of sports movie where you’re rooting for the underdog and the resulting film is enormously entertaining.

The period design of the film is extremely impressive and the photography is rich and colourful. There’s also a huge amount of warmth in the film and the likeable characters are both engaging and well-drawn.

The Great
Hopkins is terrific in the lead role, even if his New Zealand accent occasionally wobbles as badly as his motorbike. He’s utterly convincing in the scenes in which he interacts with the characters he meets on the road and it’s easy to see why people were charmed by him.

In addition, there’s strong support from the likes of Diane Ladd and the racing sequences are genuinely thrilling, thanks to Donaldson’s impressive direction.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is a beautifully made, heartwarming family film with a terrific central performance from Anthony Hopkins. It’s also entirely deserving of that time-honoured reviewer’s cliche, the feel-good film of the year. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 17/12/2017 10:10

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