Film Nerd’s Choice: The World’s Fastest Indian
I have not seen this film in about five years, so I am not in a position to give it a full review like I have some of the others in this challenge. Given the context of this question however, The World’s Fastest Indian was for me th most obvious choice. I rarely watch films and relate characters to people I know, at least not directly… not beyond seeing some personality quirk as opposed to seeing an entire person. So for me, this film became the obvious choice.
For both myself and my parents, this film reminded us of my soon to be 96-year-old grandfather. He was a mechanic by trade, running three garages in his prime in the local area, and anyone working in this area today was likely to have apprenticed from him. His particular love was motorcycles (“They are not motorbikes!”). He has three classic motorcycles still locked in his shed, and as soon as this weekend he reacted violently to anyone moving them without his supervision (this was even when they were going to be moved for a party in hid honour).
So I watched this film, which is the true story of Burt Munro, a New Zealander who had a dream of breaking the world record for fastest speed of a vehicle on land, with a motorcycle he had tinkered with for years. Anthony Hopkins, one of the inarguably true greats of cinema, took on this role, even taking on the Kiwi accent. Okay, there were times that it slipped, but overall his effort at mastering the accent was quite commendable. He plays Munro as the true unassuming mechanic type, chucking out local slang with ease (also like my grandfather). The film truly finds further feet when he goes to the US to finally complete, featuring some gold moments of culture clash. Something that has remained in my memory from this section of the film was Munro’s first interactions with a transvestite. What makes these moments shine is that he will call a spade a bloody shovel, but he is not quick to judge, and accepts the people he meets on his merits.
Whether this film will have the same impact for someone else as it did for me, I think is entirely plausible, if not to the same level. No matter what else is said about this film however, it is for me the film where Anthony Hopkins plays my own grandfather.