Thursday, July 13, 2006

The World's Fastest Indian

We just saw this movie, last weekend. Typically, I only see the first half of most movies, as we don't settle the house down (i.e. Emma goes to bed) until about 9 p.m.; the combination of inertia and recliner usually do me in. The fact that a movie engages me to the point of missing sleep, then, should suffice as endorsement enough. With this picture, the craftsmanship projects a love for the subject matter in a way that is palpable, and it tells a story that is as interesting as it is worth telling. The accompanying special features really only tell you what you already knew, - that the making of this movie drew everyone concerned into a magical realm of creativity that produces a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
I don't know anyone who does not like Anthony Hopkins. When he says that this is the best work he's ever done, it does not sound like the typical hyperbole that seeps out of press kits. Evidently, one day on the set, Burt Munro (the main character of the movie)'s children were brought to tears by his performance, he had become their father. His performance is that good.
The story is of a man of singular purpose, a dream to run his 1920 home-modified "motorsicle" halfway around the world at the Bonneville Speed Trials in the early 1960's. His naivete' about the rest of the world creates quite a journey for all of us as he pursues that dream through obstacles that would have turned most around, the least of which is his lack of pre-registration for the event and complete lack of any safety gear. That he was allowed to run at all is a miracle that probably could not happen in today's world.
This is not a Disney Movie by anyone's definition. Burt meets a cross-dressing angel in Hollywood, as well as a friendly Widow or two along the way, and he's no Boy Scout. Kids not old enough to get it won't, and those old enough won't suffer any psychic damage from it. Burt's charm is a wonder to witness, and he forges friendships as surely as he casts his own cylinder heads.
We enjoyed this movie immensly. I found it to be entertaining and inspiring. I hope you enjoy it, too.